10:20am

Fri August 16, 2013
Wildfires

High Park Fire Recovery Manager Announces New Mitigation Work

Non-federally owned hillsides in Poudre and Rist Canyons will be among the first mitigation projects to start August 18th.

KUNC's Nathan Heffel reports on High Park Fire mitigation projects.

In a statement released Thursday, Suzanne Bassinger, Larimer County Recovery Manager, said wood mulch will be hauled to staging sites in Poudre and Rist Canyons.  Helicopters will then drop the material on severely damaged hillsides in an effort to curb flash flooding and debris flows.

Flash flooding in the High Park Fire Burn Zone on August 5th, 2013.

Emergency Watershed Protection funding, approved by Congress earlier this year will help fund this phase of the mitigation process.  Additional financial sponsors include Larimer County and both Fort Collins and Greeley.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide management of the projects and will distribute funds:

The NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection grant provides 75% of the cost of watershed mitigation, with local communities providing the remaining 25%. Co-sponsors will work collaboratively to manage the prioritized projects expected to be completed near the end of the year. Treatment activities include aerial application of wood mulch in steep slope locations, enhanced mitigation techniques learned from the Hewlett Fire burn area, debris cleanup in waterways, and protection of identified at-risk homes and infrastructure. Outcomes of mitigation efforts will minimize mud slides, erosion and water quality impacts.

After the 2012 High Park Fire, a partnership between Fort Collins, Greeley and the ‘tri-districts’ spent $3.5 million treating 2600 acres out of the 5500 most severely burned acres.  In the statement, Bassinger says many of the treated hillsides have begun to re-grow and stabilize.