Volunteers needed for wildfire damage restoration

There's a lot of work to do.

After dealing with devastating wildfires last summer, volunteers say now is the time to get going on restoration efforts in the foothills for hikers and bikers and wildlife.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is taking advantage of this nice weather to restore the habitat that has been burned badly by last year’s Table Rock Fire and Mile Marker 14 Fire, and the Soda Fire in 2015.

That's a lot of ground to cover, which is why Fish and Game is asking for the public's help.

Michael Young is in charge of pulling together volunteers to restore parts of Idaho that have been scorched by fires -- a program which has been ongoing for 20 years.

Young is looking for all the help he can get.

“This is one of the biggest years for us because of the Soda Fire and these two local foothills fires have both impacted big game and have brought out the community,” said Young.

On Friday, Young and his volunteers took sage and bitter brush out of boxes to be planted Saturday in areas burned by the three fires. Deer, elk and pronghorn all feed off these seedlings.

“The big game were hanging out in that area this winter but there wasn't a whole lot for them to eat, which is partly why they came so far into town this year and ended up being in people’s yards,” said Young.

“There's a greater impact on wildlife by the human population so they are getting pushed into smaller and smaller areas, and these areas have to be taken care of by everyone,” said Wyke.

Wyke and his wife have been volunteering through the program for the past two decades.

“It’s fun to be outside, we’re contributing to the community,” said David Wyke.

Wyke is just one of hundreds that Young has recruited for fire restoration efforts.

“We had over 350 people sign up just last year, and now we have well over a thousand on our list about these projects,” said Young.

Young says this is the easy part, and that volunteers can expect to work hard Saturday planting on the steep hillsides.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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