This was a bit of a gonzo day. Our volunteer USFS trail crew of three left the South Fork trailhead with a single goal: restore Burnt Stump Spring to a usable spring. We figured 5 1/2 miles and a 3000 foot climb. We left at 7 and got back at 5 with about 1 1/2 hour to dig out the spring. Sunny and bright with scattered clouds.
The entire South Fork has either been backburned or burned. Either way, the under story was cleaned out (and some of the poison ivy got whacked). Tree trunks were blackened and locally the white oaks and silver leaf oaks on the hillsides were fire killed. But mostly it was the same old South Fork with lots of grasses and flowers and living trees. The maples were just starting to color at 6,000 feet elevation. The trail was in good shape although we did cross a tangle about three miles in. Going up the Chute to the Burnt Stump Basin had a few big trees across the trail but the trail was easy to find.
The worst result of the fire in South Fork is the erosion. Many but not all of the pools were filled with gravel. The creek merrily flowed where there were once deep pools. Sigh.
We reached Burnt Stump Spring by 11:30. Only the corner of the tank was visible beneath rocks and gravel. For an hour and a half we cleaned out the metal tank, built a diversion channel, and generally did what we could before leaving at 1 to get back to the trailhead at 5. The hillside above the spring burned lightly so there are still grasses, bracken, and raspberries along with big Apache Pines. With that cover, there shouldn't be too much additional erosion into the spring drainage.
I don't see Burnt Stump Spring on the Spring List. This is an important spring for the southeastern Chiricahuas: 31.81538333 109.2368667 7980 55 degrees fast seep 6-ft metal tank
I'll try to attach a photo or two if I can figure out how to do it.