A key portion of the project is using helicopters to drop weed free wheat straw on severly burned soils.
Two helicopters have worked for nine days dropping from a low altitude approximately 1000 pound straw bales with each load. Over 1000 tons of straw will be flown to cover approximately 1200 acres of the impacted sites.
The work will reduce risks from increased soil erosion or flash flooding that could threaten property, human life or safety, and water quality or fish habitat from high intensity summer thunderstorms.
This work is expected to be completed this Sunday at a cost of about $800,000 dollars.
“Wheat straw covering the severly burned soils helps create a buffer when heavy rains occur,” said Terry Hardy, Project Coordinator. “The helicopters are very efficient at covering about an acre per drop with the straw. The straw accumulates to about 3-5 inches in depth and helps slow water movement on the bare soils.”
Elsewhere, rehabilitation work which started last fall, will continuine this summer to repair recreation trails, improve culvert road crossings, and increase water drainage from roadways.
As the wildland fire was contained last fall, a BAER Team (Burned Area Emergency Response) evaluated threats to life, property, and critical cultural and natural resources. Emergency funding was then allocated to treat specific areas.