Forest Service reports on post-wildfires efforts

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The U.S. Forest Service Northern Region continues to make progress on restoration efforts following the 2017 fire season. The updates below highlight the status of the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER), along with some preliminary information on potential post-fire harvest opportunities and the role Forest Service nurseries play in reforestation.

Burned Area Emergency Response

Sixteen fires are currently in the BAER assessment phase, and nine assessments have been fully completed and funded. Once funded, implementation resources will carry out the work outlined in the assessments. Find below the BAER status of each fire:

* Crucifixion, Strawberry and Scalp BAER assessments kickoff tentatively set for Oct. 27, 2017

* Alice Creek, Liberty, Highway 200 Complex, Caribou, Gibralter Ridge and West Fork BAER assessments are currently in progress

* Rice Ridge and Meyers BAER assessments complete and treatments approved; close-outs being scheduled

* Sartin Draw, Lolo Peak, Sunrise, Sapphire Complex, Park Creek and Arrastra Creek BAER assessments complete and treatments approved

Post-Fire Harvest

Understanding that the shelf-life of burned timber is short (12-24 months), the Northern Region is using its comprehensive data infrastructure and cutting edge technology to safely, efficiently and consistently conduct post-fire assessments. These assessments identify where potential post-fire harvest opportunities should be used as a restoration tool, and also where we need to focus efforts to improve safety and maintain access to National Forest lands, including roadside hazard tree removal.

Using this approach, Forest Service managers now have the necessary information to prioritize and coordinate resources and work across the Northern Region. This in turn provides more time for our local communities to recover economic value from burned timber.

Given the previously identified exclusion areas and management priorities, the Northern Region has already excluded over 95 percent of the burned Forest Service land from possible post-fire harvest. Assessments will continue on the remaining five percent of burned land within the following fire perimeters:

* Little Hogback, Meyers, Caribou, Cub Creek, Gibralter Ridge, West Fork, Liberty, Moose Peak, Rice Ridge, Sunrise, Sheep Gap

The following fires have no planned post-fire harvest operations:

* Park Creek, Goat Creek, Lolo Peak and Deep Creek

**Please note, this list is provided to show post-fire response progress and keep interested stakeholders informed; it is subject to change.

Reforestation

Reforestation will take place on nearly every large fire in the region throughout 2018 and beyond. Its important to note that not all areas within a fire perimeter need to be reforested, and thanks to six Forest Service nurseries located across the nation, successful reforestation is possible. Read this 2013 Forest Service blog for more information on the role Forest Service nurseries play in post-fire restoration.

Links

Northern Region BAER Inciweb site: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5627/

Blog: After the fire come the precise planting of seedlings: www.fs.fed.us/blogs/after-fire-come-precise-planting-seedlings

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