Questions and answers surrounding Carpenter 1 wildfire
Photo: Image by Rene Steele
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The U.S. Forest Service is answering some frequently asked questions surrounding the Carpenter 1 wildfire.
What is Carpenter 1?
On July 1, lightning ignited several fires south of Carpenter Canyon in the southwestern portion of the Spring Mountains. All were contained except one, which continued to grow and was named Carpenter 1. The fire was contained on Aug. 18. The fire perimeter measured 27,883 acres or 43 square miles. It is the largest wildfire in the recorded history of this area.
What is Burned Area Emergency Response?
Often referred to as BAER, it rapidly assesses areas burned by wildfire and prescribes emergency stabilization treatments on Federal Lands to protect human life and safety, property and critical natural and cultural resources.
Mulching is designed primarily to help protect the native seedbed and retain moisture on the burned slopes to facilitate quick vegetative recovery of the treatment areas. It may give folks more time to evacuate by slowing overland runoff which is likely to be increased due to reduced soil cover and by hydrophobic soil conditions.
What is the helicopter doing?
Helicopters are transporting and dropping straw mulch in high burned areas within the Carpenter 1 wildfire and identified as having values at risk. These areas are on slopes less than 60-percent and west of the visitor center. Two bales are loaded into a net. A forklift, bobcat or other machine is used to loosen and fluff up the straw. The net is then connected under the helicopter, flown to the target drop zone and one side of the net is opened releasing the straw.
Why straw mulch?
Straw mulch provides immediate ground cover and protection to soil from surface erosion. Mulch can reduce downstream peak flows by absorbing rainfall and allows pre-wetting of water repellent soils.
Where are you dropping the straw?
413 acres on the south of upper Kyle Canyon including Rainbow Canyon. These acres are divided into nine different treatment units. Approximately 40 acres are in wilderness.
How long will the work last?
Operations will run between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily including weekends and expected to last up to seven days. For both aviation safety and coverage effectiveness, flights and straw drops will not be conducted during windy conditions.
Who is doing the work?
Bradco Environmental is a California-based company with over a decade of utility helicopter operations and forest work including logging, thinning and erosion control. Bradco performed helimulching operations for 3,000 acres severely burned in the Waldo Canyon fire.
What else is being done post-wildfire in the Spring Mountains?
Other BAER treatments planned include replacing undersized culverts and water crossings, constructing road drain dips, ditches and over side drains, removing hazard trees and installing water bars on trails.
In late August, concrete jersey barriers were placed around administrative facilities and an undersized culvert and road crossing was removed in Kyle Wash upstream from the Kyle Canyon Visitor Center.
Design for replacement water crossing at Fletcher View Campground is underway.
Initial assessments of the Griffith Park, South Loop and Cathedral Rock trails found over 300 fallen trees.
Trail drainage work and tree cleaning is delayed until next spring because winter storms are expected to knock down additional trees.