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Increased mudslide danger in area hit by Charlotte Fire

The Charlotte Fire may be out, but the BLM says it could still cause big problems if recovery efforts aren’t put in place.

The plants that would hold down the soil have burned away and the BLM said this could cause big problems once heavy rains start falling.

The Bureau of Land Management is already surveying the land left blackened by last weeks fire, making plans to prevent one disaster from causing another.

“You’ve had a lot of vegetation lost. With the right conditions it can certainly cause mudslides,” BLM information specialist Jason Fallon said.

The Charlotte Fire burned through valleys and hillsides, areas especially at risk for mudslides.

Another complication is that much of the burned land is private.

“Whether it’s public or private land, if we get a thunderstorm and it rains really hard, with nothing to hold the soil we’re going to have a couple mudslides,” Pocatello Valley Fire Chief Karen Aguilar said.

In most wildland fires, The BLM can quickly come in to re-seed the public land and get new growth coming in again to stabilize the soil.

But the BLM doesn’t have jurisdiction over private land.

“They’re pretty much responsible for themselves. And it’s just an added burden to them to get rid of the black, but the green isn’t going to come back that fast,” Aguilar said.

Recognizing the potential problem, the Bannock County commissioners have set aside $2,500 to buy seed to give out to private citizens in the fire zone.

The BLM it’s well aware of the issues, and will make sure the area gets stabilized.

“Nobody is forgotten about, and the BLM and all the interagency cooperators, whether its state or local, are working together to come up with the best plan and best strategy to make things a little bit better,” Fallon said.

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