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Even though the Slide Fire has been out for several weeks, authorities are now preparing for what’s next.The Burned Area Emergency RESPONSE TEAM for the Slide Fire review the map of the area in Oak Creek Canyon that they  will be re-seeding on Thursday, June 26. The effort is to prevent landslides during the monsoon rains, which are expected to begin soon. A total of 2,175 acres in Oak Creek Canyon are being treated with mulch to prevent rainfall from washing away the topsoil.

The Burned Area Emergency Response team has been busy creating treatment efforts in preparation for the monsoon. These include hillslope seeding and straw mulch application using certified weed-free products. Aerial seeding began this week as did “helimulching” — dropping mulch from a helicopter.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, “The goal is to treat the areas which pose the most severe hydrologic response to values at risk before the onset of the monsoon season in an effort to slow down runoff and decrease the water repellency of the soil.”

The USFS advises that fixed wing and helicopter aircraft will be active over the Slide Fire area for the next two to three weeks. Also, expect heavy semi-truck traffic carrying straw bales for the helimulching effort on Forest Road 231, also known as Woody Mountain Road, and Forest Road 535 during that time.

Beginning Thursday, July 3, the Coconino National Forest has expanded the Slide Fire emergency closure area to include all National Forest land within Oak Creek Canyon.

To read the full story, see the Wednesday, July 2, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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