U.S. Department of Agriculture District Conservationist Todd Boldt digs down into the riverbanks and finds ash 18 inches below the surface, at the waterâs edge; a result of the Hewlett Gulch Fire (May 14, 2012), in the Poudre Canyon area, near Fort Collins, Colorado on Friday; July 20; 2012. Unmitigated runoff has turned the water in this river from clear to nearly black heavily laden with ash, silt, and burnt debris that recent thunderstorms have washed down from the mountainsides. At its peak more than 400 firefighters were battling fires pushed by 50 mph winds. When the last embers were cooled, more than 12-square miles lay blackened at a cost of approximately 3.2 million dollars to fight. The aerial distribution of straw has successfully kept nearby Seaman Reservoir clean for the drinking water of the City of Greeley. Forest Service lands receive straw; while private and other lands receive a seed mix and straw to promote ground cover plant growth on ash-covered lands. In total; 1; 800 tons of straw will be applied during the 14-day operation. One quarter of the cost was paid by the City of Greeley and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the remainder. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
May 8, 2014
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