Little Bear Fire Update

Little Bear BAER Fact Sheet, 13 July 2012

Fire Area Closure: For public safety, closure of the Little Bear burn area remains in effect.

Aerial Application of Grass Seed: Grass seed is being spread on 19,211 acres of National Forest lands categorized as receiving moderate to severe burn intensity. Aerial seeding will occur at a rate of approximately 25 seeds per square foot in the areas that will also receive mulch, and at a rate of approximately 70 seeds per square foot on areas that are being treated with grass seed only. The seed will be spread using fixed wing aircraft.

Grass Seed Mix (certified weed-free) for Little Bear fire area:
o Barley (sterile/annual) – 88%. Barley seed can sprout in just a few days with good moisture.
o Slender Wheatgrass (native to the area) – 10%
o Little Bluestem, Muttongrass and Prairie Junegrass (all native to the area) – 2%, combined

Aerial Application of Straw Mulch: Approximately 10,241 acres of moderately and severely burned National Forest lands that are being treated with straw mulch. These mulched areas are also being treated with grass seed. The mulch is being applied by helicopter at a rate of one ton per acre, which equates to approximately an inch of coverage on the ground. The straw mulch provides ground cover and retains moisture to help the grass seed sprout. It also reduces the impacts of rainfall on the soil.

Restoring Vegetation Reduces Runoff of Water and Debris: Treating burned areas with seed and mulch has proven to be highly effective in restoring vegetation, stabilizing soil, and reducing runoff of water, soil, ash, and debris. This combined treatment also significantly reduces impacts on private property, roads, bridges, infrastructure, and other values downstream.

Early Warning Systems: Precipitation-gage data, coupled with run-off model data from the US Forest Service (USFS) BAER Team, will provide alert where to purchase nexium information to Lincoln County, the Village of Ruidoso, and other emergency personnel. US Geological Survey (USGS) has worked in cooperation with the USFS and NM Dept. of Homeland Security & Emergency Management to install precipitation gages on Buck Mountain, at Skyview recreation site near Monjeau Peak, at Blue Front/Crest Trail, near Nogal Peak, and near the Rio Bonito stables. A lake-stage precipitation system has been placed on the north shore of Bonito Lake just north of Bonito Dam. A stream flow gauge has been placed at Rio Bonito and the bridge at NM 48. Three USGS stream gages already in place in Eagle Creek are also being used to obtain precipitation and runoff data for the Little Bear fire area. The data from all of these gages covers all watershed areas affected by the Little Bear fire.

Roads: A large amount of work to repair roads that were damaged during the fire and reinforce roads to lessen the impacts from increased runoff of water and debris has been completed, especially along Forest Roads 131, 107, 127A and 117. This road work includes removal or replacement of culverts, installation of water bars, in-sloping and out-sloping to reduce erosion on gravel and dirt roads, grading or resurfacing, and installation of drain dips. Work to recondition roads after rains and runoff is ongoing.

Hazard Trees: Removal of severely burned trees already identified along county, state and National Forest System roads adjacent to Lincoln National forest lands is mostly complete. However, hazard trees will continue to be identified and removed as necessary.

Recreation: Work to repair fire damage in recreation areas including South Fork Campground is
ongoing. Recreation trails have been assessed but much of the work that is planned for the trails must be postponed until the monsoon rains have passed.