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BLM Replants 89,000 Acres Burned By Cave Canyon Fire

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By Jay Michaels

Oakley, Idaho (KMVT-TV) Four months ago in August, the Cave Canyon Fire burned almost 89,000 acres between the towns of Oakley and Hansen. The week long blaze burned both public and private land in the South Hills. Now Bureau of Land Management personnel are continuing to replant the area that burned.

BLM Fire Ecologist Dustin Smith says, "We have come in, aerially seeded a native perennial grass mix. We're using the dozers to chain behind and more or less plant the seed."

Two bulldozers are dragging a chain between them to dig up the soil in the area. That will help the grass seeds dropped by airplane begin to grow more easily.

Smith says, "They are making one pass. What it is doing is just roughing up the ground a little bit to help cover the seed. And it's helping push the dead juniper down."

Smith says the BLM will also aerially seed sagebrush later this winter when there's some snow cover. He says sagebrush seed doesn't need to be covered up with dirt to sprout like the mixed grass seed they've already applied. The end result next spring will be the beginning of restoring this rangeland that burned.

Smith says, "There's mule deer and sage grouse habitat. We're trying to restore it so there's habitat they can actually use, cover, forage, and things like that."

Smith says planting native perennial grass seed will prevent invasive annuals like cheatgrass, as well as other noxious weeds from taking root in the South Hills.

Dec. 10, 2012.


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