Experts plan environmental restoration of Martis fire |

Experts plan environmental restoration of Martis fire

RENO, Nev. (AP) – Even before the flames are out, Forest Service experts are planning the restoration of 14,500 acres scarred by the Martis fire west of Reno.

The effort will occur in three phases, and the Forest Service said the first phase began when the fire broke out on June 17.

That involves repairing damage done by firefighting efforts – such as re-contouring bulldozer lines and constructing erosion control bars in fire lines to divert and slow water.

The second phase is also underway. Members of the agency’s Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation team are evaluating each canyon, meadow and forested area to determine specific needs.

”We have reviewed the burned area several times, both from the air and on the ground,” said Jim Bergman, a hydrologist with the team.

”We are preparing recommendations for rehabilitation according to burn effects, uses and issues specific to each watershed.”

The report and recommendations will be released next week.

Public hearings will be held before recommendations are finalized and ultimately implemented – a project that could take years to complete, the Forest Service said.

”We understand how vital our long-term rehabilitation job is,” said Carson District Ranger Gary Schiff.

Schiff said the Forest Service will work with local and state agencies on how best to tackle the job.

”There are challenges ahead and we’re looking at all possible alternatives,” Schiff said.

Officials expect to have the fire fully contained by Saturday, but say it could smolder until it snows.

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