Crews start removing dead, dying trees from Pioneer Fire

Posted at 3:27 PM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 17:34:33-05

Restoration and recovery work started Monday in the area damaged by last year’s massive Pioneer Fire, and will likely continue for the two weeks, according to forest officials.

The Pine Flats hazard timber sale was awarded to the Boise Cascade Company, after it offered the highest bid of $96,853.00 for 1,714 tons -- about 60 to 70 truckloads -- of ponderosa pine and other coniferous species. Salvage operations are expected to be completed Jan. 16, 2017.

Forest officials have posted warning signs along Forest Highway 17, the Banks/Lowman road, as periodic traffic delays or one-lane travel may be needed for safety while crews will be working next to the highway. Flaggers will be on-site to direct traffic. All drivers in the Lowman area should proceed with caution.

The primary purpose of the salvage sale is to remove dead and dying trees to prevent bark beetle infestation in the campground, according to Lowman District Ranger John Kidd. “This one action actually has numerous benefits: besides deterring beetles, the timber will support local businesses as well as help us prepare the campground for the 2017 season,’ he said.

Proceeds from the sale will stay with the forest -- and help with additional reforestation or recovery efforts identified in the Boise National Forest Plan.

The Pine Flats Campground and hot springs area will remain closed for public safety until further notice.

The Pioneer Fire burned some 188,404 acres in the Boise National Forest.