The Chetco Bar Fire was officially declared 100 percent contained Oct. 13, allowing forestry recovery efforts to continue in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness east of Brookings.
But a lot of work won’t get done, reported U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Tina Lanier, because the agency only received half the money it requested to remove dangerous trees along the Chetco River and on Forest Service Road 1376.
Many others helped out on that road to Nook Bar, including South Coast Lumber and fire personnel and funds from Burned Area Emergency Response.
The U.S. Forest Service plans to establish a post-fire recovery website, but much is still unknown, said Brookings City Manager Gary Manager, who sits on a state Chetco Bar Fire Recovery Council.
A representative at a recent recovery council meeting indicated he wasn’t sure when a project manager for the recovery efforts might be named, nor when salvage logging might begin on Forest Service lands.
He also said hazard tree removal would begin in about a month — or at the beginning of salmon season — and fall Chinook salmon season is already underway, Milliman said.
“It is also unknown when reforestation might begin, as there is a reported shortage of seedlings, or how much funding was approved — or how much was requested,” he continued. “And the USFS representative did note there are no plans for erosion control or sediment monitoring.”
Frank Burris from Oregon State University said he would develop a list of what needs to be done regarding erosion control and report back at the next meeting.
Milliman also participated in a conference call with 11 other members of the Economic Recovery subcommittee, which addressed salvage logging, the need for public information regarding reopening the forest to visitors and tourism promotion strategies.
“We have worked hard and been successful at mitigating a lot of the safety concerns on the Road 1376 to Nook Bar,” Lanier said. “Unfortunately, we will not be done with the hazard tree mitigation along this road farther north, or on all the other roads affected by the fire. I don’t have a date for when we might be done with mitigating hazards farther north along the Chetco River road.”
Despite some steady rainfall this past week, the fire is not deemed to be completely extinguished, Lanier said.
“Fire experts feel the fire will not likely move outside of containment lines at this point, even with potentially strong winds,” she said. “In a fire area this large, there is likely still some interior burning — and will be for quite some time. Therefore, it won’t be called out until we have many more significant moisture-producing weather events — lots and lots of rain.”