Regional
10:31 am
Fri July 8, 2011

Crews Plant Grass In Wildfire Area To Prevent Erosion

Mayhill, NM – As the monsoonal rains are gearing up for southern New Mexico, the Sacramento Ranger District on the Lincoln National Forest has made good progress on measures to reduce impacts on private property from flooding and runoff of debris in the Mayhill Fire area.

Aerial application of a grass seed mixture formulated for quick germination has been completed on approximately 620 acres within the fire area. Even with the sparse rainfall that has occurred to date, grass has begun sprouting in the seeded area and portions of the blackened ground are turning to green.

On July 10, straw mulch will be applied by helicopter to a portion of the seeded area, primarily on slopes where soil, sediment and debris are most likely to erode and affect property downstream. The straw mulch contract has been awarded to Salmon River Helicopters from Riggins, Idaho.

The straw mulch will be applied at a rate of one ton per acre to protect the soil from the rains and encourage grass growth. The combination of grass seed and straw mulch has proven to be very successful in establishing ground cover, stabilizing soil, slowing runoff and reducing erosion in post-fire areas.

The aerial mulching project will take place along U.S. Highway 82 approximately 2 miles west of Mayhill beginning early on Sunday morning. Travelers along U.S. Highway 82 should be aware that traffic may be stopped intermittently on Sunday to ensure public safety and facilitate the aerial operations. Salmon River Helicopters expects this project to be completed in one day.

Other projects underway for the Mayhill Fire area include the installation of erosion control structures in drainages where heavy runoff is likely to affect private property downstream. There are also plans to reinforce Parker Dam - originally built in the 1970's - to handle heightened runoff of water and debris from the fire area and to reduce impacts from the runoff along U.S. Highway 82.

Lincoln National Forest and the Mayhill Fire Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) implementation team are coordinating their efforts with officials at the federal, state and local levels.

A Forest Closure Order remains in effect for all roads and lands within the boundaries of the Lincoln National Forest due to the extreme fire conditions. For more information regarding the Lincoln National Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/lincoln.