Forest And Wildfire Management Hearing Set Ahead Of Draft Report

November 16, 2022

By Terri Jo Neff |

The public is invited to attend the final hearing of the Arizona House Forest and Wildfire Management Ad Hoc Committee during which several updates will be provided on the Telegraph Fire that ravaged more than 180,000 acres last year between Superior and Miami.

The bi-partisan committee, headed by Rep. David Cook (R-Globe), will meet Nov. 21 to hear from Jeff Eisenberg of University of Arizona Cooperative Extension of plans by U of A for a study of the long-term costs of the Telegraph Fire, which burned for four weeks in June and July 2021 and contributed to damaging post-fire flooding during the monsoon. 

As previously reported by AZ Free News, the Arizona Legislature invested $100 million in a wildfire relief package in June 2021. The Ad Hoc Committee was formed a few months later to make recommendations for potential changes to state and federal laws and regulations related to the management of wildfires in Arizona.

Members, which include Reps. Andres Cano, Tim Dunn, Gail Griffin, and Stephanie Stahl Hamilton, will also hear on Nov. 21 from Dr. Melanie Colavito and Dr. Andrew Sanchez Meador, both with Northern Arizona University, about a similar long-term costs study they conducted following the 2010 Schultz Fire northeast of Flagstaff in the Coconino National Forest. 

The agenda further includes a status report by U.S. Forest Service professionals on the progress of repairs to myriad ranching infrastructure damaged by the Telegraph Fire. Committee members also intend to discuss a draft committee report and possible recommendations leading into the new legislative session beginning in January.

Public hearings have previously been conducted by the Ad Hoc Committee in Globe and Flagstaff in an effort to hear directly from those impacted by recent wildfires and post-fire flooding.

Cook previously stressed the need for the Arizona Legislature to examine forest and wildfire management policies and practices “to assess potential improvements that will minimize the impact of these fires on Arizonans and our environment.”

The hearing starts at 2:30 p.m. in HHR 3 at the Arizona House of Representatives in Phoenix.  A livestream will be offered at this link.

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