Treatments within the Soda Fire burn area are scheduled to continue this fall, with applications of herbicide on BLM-managed lands in both Idaho and Oregon. Last year, the fire burned rapidly, scorching some 280,000 acres -- more than 400 square miles -– of federal, state and private lands in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon.
Treatments have already begun in Oregon and will begin in Idaho in October.
Herbicide applications will continue until Oct. 30, 2016 or until completed, officials said.
“The herbicide Imazapic is being applied to the burned areas to decrease competition from invasive annual grasses and help in the recovery of desirable perennial grasses and forbs,” said BLm spokeswoman Cindy Fritz. “Drill seeding, aerial seeding and seedling planting treatments will also occur this fall and winter in both states.”
Areas treated in Oregon include the Pole Creek Top from Strodes Basin to McBride Creek Road, and areas west of U.S. Highway 95 between the Idaho and Oregon state line and Succor Creek Grade.
Treatments in Idaho will include the Salmon Butte, Reynolds Creek, Sands Basin, McBride Creek and Succor Creek areas. Signs will mark roads leading into treatment areas where applications are ongoing. The BLM encourages the public to avoid areas where treatment activities are taking place.
The BLM first began efforts to stabilize and rehabilitate the area affected by the Soda Fire in September of last year.
“The fire has greatly impacted the sagebrush-steppe landscape that supports native wildlife, livestock grazing, outdoor recreation, and other important resources. Most of the burned area is habitat for the greater sage-grouse, with more than 50,000 acres designated a priority habitat management area for the species,” Fritz said.
“The Soda Fire also had a devastating impact on ranchers, who lost livestock and other property on federal, state and private lands. Within the burned area, 41 BLM grazing allotments were impacted,” she stated.