The Times-Independent

BLM completes Pack Creek Fire restoration work

BLM controls 131 acres out of nearly 9,000 affected by last summer’s wildfire that was sparked by an abandoned campfire

Bureau of Land Management fire personnel have completed the initial restoration work for the Pack Creek Fire on all 131 acres of BLM-managed lands impacted by the fire, according to a statement from the BLM’s Rachel Wooten.

Snow covers fire restoration work the BLM recently completed near Pack Creek. Photo courtesy of the BLM

The fire restoration project incorporated the application of native seeds to help stabilize soil and protect the area from erosion, said Wooten. The remains of burned Pinyon pine and juniper trees were cut to serve as seed sites and to trap sediment from water runoff and help address resident concerns about the view of the area. As seeds begin to germinate, the plants will help to retain soil and reduce splash detachment of soil particles, decreasing soil runoff.

“We know this is a small part of the restoration currently in progress, but we are happy to celebrate this step,” said BLM Fuels Natural Resource Specialist Charlie Fischer. “We will continue to work with the community and our partners on restoration and fuels and fire management projects.”

Staff from the Bureau of Land Management will continue to actively manage the restoration area for years to come, said Wooten in the statement. Fire personnel will monitor the area for erosion, water quality impacts and other potential concerns. While initial restoration is finished, future phases will include monitoring for erosion and the use of herbicides to keep invasive plant species like cheatgrass in check.

On June 9, the Pack Creek Fire ignited from an abandoned campfire about 14 miles southeast of Moab. The fire grew to a total of 8,952 acres. The fire moved quickly through the riparian zone then moderated when it reached a BLM fuels reduction project, enabling firefighters to gain a footing against the blaze, ultimately protecting most structures and homes. Approximately 131 acres of BLM lands were burned below the community of Pack Creek.