Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Post-Wildfire Rehabilitation Efforts Taking Place

Salt Lake City, UT- Last summer the Big Pole fire was the biggest fire of the season, making resource specialists concerned about damage to soil, watershed and vegetation. The specialists developed steps to prevent further damage on affected areas. As the snowpack starts to melt, soil scientists, botanists and wildlife biologists have started to assess the speed and extent of recovery in the burned areas. Initial observations reflect positive results.

“The damage doesn’t end when the wildfire stops,” said BLM West Desert District Manager Glenn Carpenter. “Mud and floods were an immediate threat following the extreme severity of Big Pole. Now we’re entering a season where we can measure results through monitoring efforts.”

Immediately following the wildfire, ranchers, public land managers, and regional cooperatives like the Utah Partners in Conservation and Development took swift action to minimize erosion by creating check dams in drainages, building water bars and using felled trees to slow water runoff. Throughout the winter, native seed species mixture was deposited over the burned area in an effort to out-compete non-native plants and invasive weeds. Allowing vegetation to grow and thrive will be critical for recovery, land managers will continue to monitor to ensure rehabilitation plans are encouraging desirable plant growth.

US Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) team monitors regrowth of native vegetation and assesses overall soil conditions in the burned areas of the Big Pole Fire. During this first visit, several species of native seedlings were visible at monitoring locations. Last fall, once the 27,000 acre Big Pole Fire was out, the BAER team set to work in assisting the return of native habitat to limit soil erosion and to protect species and community water supplies. In November 2009, the BEAR team seeded the burned area with a native seed mix to out‐compete non‐native species. The monitoring will continue at regular intervals throughout the summer.

For more information on wildfire rehabilitation, .

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