In an effort to be transparent, the USFS had three informational meetings for the public to come and see what work has been done regarding the 2016 Pioneer Fire. Meetings were held in Idaho City, Boise and Garden Valley. Proposed activities will include hazard tree removal and burned tree salvage harvests to be completed in 2018. Other activities will continue for at least 10 years, such as reforestation and infrastructure work. The Pioneer Fire started on July 18, 2016 and continued to burn and travel for two months.
The goal is to make sure the burned forests areas are able to be open to the recreational activities in these areas remain while maintaining safety.There will some trails closed as they are deemed hazardous due to debris and soil erosion. Another important area is making sure that ecologically plants and wildlife in those areas will thrive while keeping out the huge potential for weeds and non-native plants to take root.
Salvage sales will help bring in revenue and cover the costs of of the reforestation objectives. This will also help improve the economic conditions for local communities and the logging industry. Removing the hazard trees will improve the public health and safety along the public routes and recreation facilities. These proposed actions will start in spring or summer of 2017 due to the rapid deterioration of the burned trees. Estimated salvage volume in the south side of the Pioneer Fire near Idaho City is 32MMBF (million board feet) and the north side is estimated at 54MMBF. Approximately 231.8 miles of open road National Forest Service roads and 73.5 miles of open motorized and non-motorized NFS trails will be treated for hazard trees.
There is much more project information on the Pioneer Fire Project website at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50789
All maps and materials shown at the meeting are available for viewing along with photographs.
Article and Photos by Janet Juroch – BCC Staff