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Helicopters to begin land treatment near Pocatello

Aerial Reseeding 12-2020
Aerial Seeding, December, 2020

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK)-Efforts to rehabilitate fire-scarred land near Pocatello will begin Monday, weather permitting.

The Bureau of Land Management will conduct helicopter operations and mulch application treatments around Chinese Peak for about two weeks.  It follows a similar aerial seeding contract that was completed on December 1.

The Pocatello Field Office awarded a contract to Columbia Basin Helicopters to apply wood straw mulch to about 128 acres of land that was burned by the 1,546-acre Chinese Peak Fire on July 19, 2020.  The project will rehabilitate and stabilize the land to prevent further resource damage.  The entire operation is expected to take 12 days, with 6-8 days of helicopter activity planned within that time frame.

An Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Plan was developed to address erosion and vegetation concerns immediately following the fire.

According to BLM, the earlier contract seeded approximately 460 acres with a grass/forb mixture and an additional 1,363 acres with a sagebrush/forb mixture. The mulching operation beginning next week is similar to a successful treatment that was conducted after the 2011 Drive-In Fire, in which wood straw mulch was applied following aerial seeding.

If conditions allow, the helicopter will begin applying wood mulch in strategic areas by dropping wood straw from a cargo net.  The helicopter will be based at the old drive-in theater location off South 5th Avenue.

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