Rehabilitation for the Silver Fire burn area began on Sunday, July 21st. The USDA Forest Service, Washington Office has approved funding, and a contract has been awarded to begin seeding on over 11,000 acres of severely burned areas of the Gila Wilderness. Mulching operations for nearly 3,000 acres will begin in the Hillsboro mining district soon, where the hope is to minimize negative effects from mines and tailing piles on the downstream water quality.
As with last year’s Whitewater-Baldy Fire, seeding of the Silver Fire will consist primarily of non-persistent annual barley that will provide rapid cover during the first season. The remaining seeds will consist of native perennial species to help “jump start” the area’s recovery.
The second phase of rehabilitation will focus on seeding roughly 1,500 acres in the headwaters of the Mimbres River. These treatments are also expected to help reduce sedimentation in private properties downstream from the burn site. Seeding affects life, property, and infrastructure by reducing erosion and runoff caused from areas of severe burn, where little vegetation remains to keep the soil in place during the rains.
Other phase two implementations will include the cutting of trees above cultural resources, posting warning signs at access points to the burn area, and to install additional drainage to areas that are susceptible to erosion. For the safety of the public, warning signs should be carefully noted and heeded by everyone.
For more information about the Silver Fire BAER Plan, call Tracy Weber at 388-8382.