The 2016 Pioneer Fire was a devastating event for the Boise National Forest. The fire burned nearly 190,000 acres in three directions from its start southwest of Idaho City.
It was the largest wildfire on national forest land last year, and the ninth most expensive wildfire in the history of the western United States. Even after the fire was finally contained last fall, the devastation left dead and dying trees along roadways, and a massive burn scar that increased the risks of flooding. Recreation areas, hunting opportunities and wildlife habitat continue to be impacted.
Fortunately the Forest Service is moving quickly to rehabilitate forests affected by the Pioneer Fire. The South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project is now open for review and public comment. You can support the project clicking here to send a message to the Forest Service’s Idaho City District Ranger. Comments are due by Tuesday, May 30.
The South Pioneer project is part of an effort to remove dead and dying trees and replant thousands of native ponderosa pine trees on the landscape. By moving quickly, the National Forest seeks to recover the economic value of the burned timber to support local jobs, which also raises money to pay for the restoration of recreational amenities, roads and water infrastructure in the area.
It will also speed the economic recovery of communities such as Idaho City, Lowman and Garden Valley that depend heavily on recreation and tourism activities that were lost from the Pioneer Fire. The effort is supported by local officials, forest sector representatives, conservation groups and motorized users in the Boise Forest Coalition. Details for the project can be found here.
The Forest Service needs to hear there is public support to move quickly with the salvage, rehabilitation and replanting effort. Please take a moment to click here and lend your voice in support of this effort. You can customize the following draft letter however you’d like. Once again, please remember to add your voice to this important project by Tuesday, May 30!