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Mulching project set to begin on BLM land within East Troublesome Fire burn scar

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Posted at 11:24 AM, Jun 27, 2022

KREMMLING, Colo. — About 100 semi trucks will bring mulch to the East Troublesome Fire burn scar in early July to begin a project to reduce the risk of erosion.

The Bureau of Land Management's Kremmling Field Office, plus agency partners, will start bringing the mulch in as early as July 6. BLM road 2760A will close for about three weeks for this project.

First, crews will place the mulch in a staging area. Then, they will use equipment to load the mulch into nets and helicopters will transport it to the sites. BLM said the aerial efforts will begin as early as July 14 and will cover about 1,000 acres of BLM-administered land.

Mulching on federal land will cover the Drowsy Water Creek and Willow Creek watersheds, plus a portion in the North Fork of the Colorado River Watershed and a small area near Lake Granby, the Grand County Watershed Recovery said in late May.

In the summer of 2021, Grand County and Northern Water implemented more than 15 projects around the East Troublesome burn scar. This included aerial mulching of 5,200 acres to reduce erosion on burned soil.

Some areas have already been mulched. In those places, the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests partnered with the National Forest Foundation to plant seedlings on about 900 acres of land. The group planted about 400,000 seedlings throughout June in the burn areas of five of Colorado's 2020 large fires.

In addition to mulching, Grand County Watershed Recovery also plans to tackle other projects, including sediment management, channel stability, flood risk reduction, and road protection.

The East Troublesome Fire started burning northeast of Kremmling on Oct. 14, 2020 and grew to become the second-largest wildfire in state history. It grew from 19,000 acres to 170,000a record for rapid-fire expansion in Colorado — in about 36 hours and forced the evacuation of more than 35,000 people. In total, it burned 193,812 acres, destroyed 580 structures, including 366 residential structures, and killed two people. It was fully contained in late November 2020.

In early June, officials announced they had determined the fire was human-caused, though it remains under investigation.