Forest Service allots $2.3M to replace infrastructure destroyed by Telegraph Fire
PHOENIX — The Tonto National Forest will receive $2.3 million in federal funding to repair infrastructure damaged as a result of the Telegraph Fire.
The largest wildfire in the state during the 2021 wildfire season, the Telegraph Fire damaged a significant amount of forest land range infrastructure across nine allotments, the Tonto National Forest said in a press release on Tuesday.
Approximately 66 miles of allotment boundary fencing was damaged and more than 61 miles of interior pasture fencing was destroyed by the fire, forest officials said.
The money comes from the National Burned Area Emergency Response as part of the Minor Facilities and Infrastructure Rehabilitation Pilot program, with the Tonto National Forest receiving approval for the full amount of funding requested.
“It’s one of the largest amounts awarded for range infrastructure replacement under the pilot program since its inception in 2020,” Mike Martinez, ecosystems staff officer and National Burned Area Emergency Response team leader said in the release.
“Already, a procurement package is being prepared for the solicitation of bids to install the fencing which we plan to have finished by the end of 2022.”
Unlike traditional funding in the federal emergency response, which focuses on mitigating post-fire flooding on federal lands, forest officials said the piolet program is meant for minor national forest land facilities and infrastructure damaged in wildfires.
The Telegraph Fire began June 4 approximately two miles southeast of Superior, burning more than 180,000 acres and destroying numerous homes and structures until being fully contained a month later.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, forest officials said.