Monday, September 19, 2016

Revisiting Soda Fire (2015) Post-Fire Recovery (Sept. 2016)

I am still very interested in the 2015 Soda Fire Post-Fire Recovery. Readers of this blog may recall that I wrote two series on emergency rehabilitation and recovery from the 2015 Soda Fire. The first series, in late 2015 focused on Burned Area Emergency Response. I wrote the second series in February 2016 focusing on the 2015 Soda Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation (ESR) plan for burned area recovery (BAR). If you are interested in reading any of these earlier articles, please see my February 8th post where I have included links to all my earlier articles.

You may recall that burned area recovery that the ESR work will continue for one to five years depending on the specific treatments (see for example part two of my two part interview with the Idaho BLM. For some information on specific treatments planner see my February 12th and February 15th articles.

I do spend a certain amount of time reflecting on the 2015 Soda Fire Post-Fire Recovery and regret that distance and other factors preclude me from being able to follow this more closely. I did see that the BLM prepared a briefing package on Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation in May 2016, it is a short document with some photos and a list of treatments is provided on page 3. According to the May 2016 Briefing document, included in the treatments planned for 2016 (this may be a partial list) are:

  • repair of roads, recreation trails, culverts, ditches, water bars, and warning signs;
  • planting of seedlings;
  • repair of fencing;
  • and treatment of noxious weeds
On page 5 of the May 2016 ESR Briefing Package refers to plans for emergency fuel breaks:
On May 5, 2016, the BLM Owyhee Field Office signed an emergency decision authorizing the construction of up to 25 miles of fuel breaks in the highest-priority area of the wildland-urban interface. The fuel breaks will include approximately 200 acres of targeted grazing and mowing along with improvements on up to 25 miles of roads.
as well as an environmental assessment for fuel breaks (May 2016 ESR Briefing Package, page 5)
On May 13, 2016, BLM released an environmental assessment (EA) of a network of fuel breaks designed to protect the ESR investment for public comment. 
• The EA analyzes the completion of approximately 425 miles of fuel breaks, using a combination of road maintenance, mowing of sagebrush, application of herbicides, targeted grazing, and establishment of vegetative fuel breaks 
• These fuel breaks will allow for improved access by fire suppression resources and a higher probability for stopping fires before they become large, protecting lives, property, ESR treatments, and natural resources.
 The BLM released a press release about the planned fuel breaks here.
• A final EA and decision are anticipated in early June, 2016. 
I am never quite sure how long links will be active, but I found information about the May 2016 ESR Briefing Package on a webpage from the Idaho BLM on the Soda Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation. Depending on when you are accessing that page, the information that you see may be different. At the time that I am writing this in September 2016, the information on the Idaho BLM's Soda Fire Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation page is similar to the information found in the May 2016 ESR Briefing Package.

No comments: