Expert says it could take years for areas burned by Telegraph Fire to recover

Months after a wildfire burned thousands of acres of land near Superior, we are getting a closeup look at the devastation caused by that fire.

The Telegraph Fire sparked on June 4, and the fire baked the soil, leaving it mostly barren. That led to severe flooding on several occasions this summer.

A national forest official says recovery in the area could take years.

"It’s going to take three to five years until we see what you would call normal, to see vegetation come back. That's definitely going to depend on how much moisture we get during those years," said BAER Assessment team lead Mike Martinez.

The Telegraph Fire made it all the way to the area of Dripping Springs, charring 181,000 acres in total.

'The fire made it from the town of Superior to Globe in a matter of two days, which was faster than anyone had ever seen," said District Ranger for the Globe Ranger District, Adam Bromley.

The fire stripped the already drought-stricken mountainside of vegetation, leaving a devastating scar. The area of Tuxedo Junction was one the most impacted areas. Roads in the area are still closed.

"This lower country here, where it's still really black, this is all Telegraph. As you come up to the 651 Road here, that was the holding feature for the 2017 Pinal Fire," said Bromley.

This scar has made recent flooding in the area worse after monsoon rains.

"We essentially received a year's worth of moisture in about 30 days. The Telegraph Fire was a major contributing factor. People are seeing in town a lot of black. The water color is very dark. It's full of debris," said Bromley.

Both Bromley and Martinez say although there is no rain in the immediate forecast, people in the area should always be on high alert.

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