SPANISH FORK CANYON — Damage done by a lightning-caused wildfire earlier this summer is already being repaired by Mother Nature, with a little help from her friends.
The 1,836-acre burn area located approximately eight miles east of Spanish Fork and north of U.S. 6, is hard to distinguish from adjacent areas now even though the fire occurred less than three months ago, said Dave Pallazzo, a Uinta National Forest spokesman.
"The vegetation is already taking hold and so from the road, it's difficult to identify where it is burned," Pallazzo said as he watched a helicopter dropping one-ton bales of specially prepared straw onto the burn site.
The helicopters are spreading 12,800 pounds of seed and 243 tons of straw, one ton of seed and straw per acre. The straw is being broken up as a mulch that will help reduce the degradation of the soil, reduce erosion and assist in the natural recovery of the area.
In addition, crews are posting signs asking the public to be careful and stay off sensitive land surfaces that need time to heal.
Culverts on the Knoll Hollow Trail are being cleaned of ash and replaced.
Seed-with-straw mulching will help slow the invasion of noxious weeds and flooding and debris flows will be held back by the quick-growing grasses.
Forest personnel will also use long-term monitoring of the area to ensure rehabilitation efforts are as effective as expected.
During the rehabilitation effort — expected to take about a week — the Knoll Hollow trail, the Teat Mountain trail and Forest Road 076 as well as the project area itself will be closed to the public, including hunters.
The Red Bull fire started on the afternoon of July 26 and burned for six days in the cheat grass and juniper before rain and hail helped firefighters bring it under containment on Aug. 3.
Specialists on the Burned Area Emergency Response team, including experts in soil science, hydrology, ecology, archaeology and range management, were on the site the following day.