Williams Area Pre-Disaster Plan

Overview

Coconino County recognizes that wildfire and post-wildfire flooding are the greatest public safety threats to its residents, businesses, economy and financial solvency. Because the Williams area has been identified as the County's highest risk area for post-wildfire debris flows and flooding, the County is taking steps to develop a Pre-Disaster Plan for Williams in the event of a wildfire on the north side of Bill Williams Mountain. 

Williams Pre-Disaster Plan

The Williams Pre-Disaster Plan will include a detailed assessment of potential impacts to transportation corridors, critical facilities, public roads/utilities and franchise utilities as well as identification of possible improvements to increase resiliency. A Pre-Disaster Plan Stakeholder Meeting was held on June 4, 2018 to recap the January 22, 2018 Stakeholder Kickoff Meeting and discuss critical components of the plan, which is expected to be completed this year. 

Bill Williams Mountain Forest Restoration

On June 4, 2018 the Kaibab National Forest met with stakeholders to discuss the Current and Project Management of Bill Williams Mountain, which is critical towards mitigating the fire danger for this mountain.  

The Kaibab National Forest has appointed a diverse group of its own employees known as the Bill Williams Mountain Implementation Team. The primary goal of this team is to plan for and implement current and future forest restoration projects on Bill Williams Mountain, which are being conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and cooperating partners. This work is intended to mitigate the associated hazards and potential negative impacts that could occur on the mountain and to the adjacent surrounding communities as a result of a destructive wildfire.

These critical restoration efforts are intended to help safeguard the City of Williams' vital watershed and protect other values on the mountain that include wildlife and timber as well as cultural and natural resources. 

The following restoration accomplishments have been completed to date:

Commercial Timber Sales:  Complete - 204 acres -- Active- 3,300 acres
Fuels Reduction Thinning / Pile Burns: 700 acres
Aspen Restoration: 25 acres

NAU EPI Economic Impact Study

The Northern Arizona University (NAU) Alliance Bank Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study of the Economic Impact of Post Fire Flooding: Bill Williams Mountain focused on the economic impact of post wildfire flooding to the City of Williams resulting from a wildfire on Bill Williams Mountain. Commissioned by the CFD, the study estimates that the economic impact from a catastrophic wildfire and the post-wildfire flooding in the Bill Williams Mountain watershed (City of Williams and downstream) is between $379 million and $694 million. The estimated cost of forest restoration on Bill Williams Mountain is approximately $8 million. The response to a fire would incur immediate expenses, including suppression, post-fire rehabilitation, evacuation and repair costs. Long-term impacts of a catastrophic fire include the loss of sales tax revenue, tourist revenue, business revenue, and repair costs to railroads, highways and facilities.

Post-Wildfire Debris-Flow & Flooding Assessment

Completed in 2017, the Post-Wildfire Debris-Flow & Flooding Assessment identified areas within the County that are at high risk for flooding and debris flows in the aftermath of a wildfire. The study also included in-depth evaluations of two areas that are at very high risk to post-wildfire flooding: Fort Valley and the City of Williams. The evaluations quantified the risks in these areas and identified potential mitigation measures that could reduce these hazards.

The study recommended that a Pre-Disaster Plan be developed for the City of Williams. In August 2017, a Tabletop Exercise was conducted to evaluate emergency response procedures and begin collaboration between key stakeholders in Williams. As an extension of this effort, Coconino County received a grant from the U. S. Forest Service to prepare the Pre-Disaster Plan.