Dead wood being removed from Waterfall fire burn area

Work continues to remove the black eyesore from the mountains west of Carson City following the Waterfall fire that destroyed more than 8,700 acres in July 2004.

"Residents will see less black on the hills and hopefully begin to see green start to come back," said Franklin Pemberton, public affairs specialist for the National Forest Service.

The Forest Service recently awarded contracts for commercial firewood removal in four areas of the forest. The contracts allow private companies or individuals to harvest the dead trees and sell the firewood.

In total 567 cords of wood will be harvested from the four areas. A cord is equivalent to a 4-by-4-by-8-foot area.

"It's a fairly substantial amount of wood that is being removed. It will be a benefit to at least get some of that dead material out of there," Pemberton said.

The Forest Service also made attempts to harvest additional areas but were unsuccessful because of the steep terrain.

"We are worried about resource damage, especially on the road. That road is very tight and narrow and the trees are fairly large and on a steep slope," Pemberton said.

Forest Service crews are also working to contour and remove dead trees in steep areas to help decrease future fire risk.

"Our biggest concern is getting those dead trees down and ideally out of there," Pemberton said.

Areas with high numbers of fallen dead trees present a higher danger of reburning and the trees can crush emerging seedlings, according to Pemberton.

There was concern about additional damage from insects immediately following the fire, however, Pemberton said, additional research has alleviated those concerns.

"There was some initial discussion about insects hurting the survivability of the partially-scorched trees but further research has shown that not to be a concern," said Pemberton.

The Forest Service plans to have all harvesting completed before significant snowfall occurs and in advance of seedling planting scheduled to begin in the spring.

"We are planting about 113,000 seedlings when the soil conditions are right in the spring, so we are going to need volunteers to help," Pemberton said.

n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at or 881-1217.


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