FEATHERVILLE, Idaho -- KTVB spent a lot of time in Pine and Featherville last year covering the Trinity Ridge Fire.
The fire started on August 3rd, and by the time it was officially contained, it had burned 229 square-miles of the Boise National Forest, that's 146,832 acres.
The impact on the people in the area were enormous, and the memories of the summer of 2012 will be passed on to future generations.
KTVB's Dee Sarton spent some time with a soil scientist with the Boise National Forest to learn about the lasting effects and how are your tax dollars being spent to help the forest recover.
Terry Hardy, with the Boise National Forest, took KTVB up to see how the forest is recovering from the Trinity Ridge Fire. He said, right now vegetation recovery is looking pretty grim.
The fire burned pretty good through this area, said Hardy as he showed the KTVB crew around. This is the ash layer, the lighter gray material you see, is the ash. And it has the nutrients, it contains left over seed that might not be totally consumed by the fire. So one of the treatments that we like to do is keep this ash on-site. It will hold and absorb the moisture. That is, if it doesn't all run off along with tons of dirt when the first thunderstorm rolls through here.
Protecting the watershed and preventing erosion are top concerns.
Our main goal right now is continue what we're doing last fall. We're trying to address those threats to those values, which are human life and safety. Our property, our roads infrastructure, and then the important resources. And we do what we can to keep soil on the hill, said Hardy.
That's why the forest service will spend about half of it 4.5-million restoration dollars on
We're gonna be looking at treating 1,000 to 1,500 acres with aerial straw mulch in a week or so. We can't treat everything everywhere, but we'll focus and prioritize where we have those values, said Hardy.
Values like roads and trails for recreationists. Two-million-dollars will be spent on road improvements, stream crossings, and the federally protected bull trout which needs cold clean streams for spawning.
A culvert that flows with run off drain down the mountainside has been tagged as a priority to protect bull trout habitat. It will be replaced in July.
If this pipe were to fail the material that you see above this pipe would be delivered to the stream and there's bull-trout habitat downstream, spawning in bull-trout habitat, said Hardy.
But some things will have to survive and come back on their own. There will be no reseeding in the recovery effort this summer. Some trees, like the Ponderosa Pine, are adapting to fire.
This Ponderosa Pine should live. It's got less than half of the canopy scorched, the base could be intact. The concern that we would have with this one would be, secondary mortality from root-kill. If the ground-fire was so hot, that it burned, heated into the ground and killed the roots, then you'd see secondary mortality from the root kill, said Hardy.
Hardy said we probably won't know this trees future for another four or five years.
And the forest as a whole?
Long-term, we're going to see effects last into the long-term 20-50 years or more, said Hardy.
Hardy said the wildlife, deer and elk for example, did pretty well. We'll probably hear about bear in the coming days as the spring bear hunt is underway right now.