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Aerial Mulch Helps High Park Fire Burn Area With Recovery

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Mulch covers a portion of the High Park Fire burn area in Larimer County. (credit: CBS)

Mulch covers a portion of the High Park Fire burn area in Larimer County. (credit: CBS)

GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)- Aerial mulching is part of $2.5 million set aside for Colorado to help repair the damage from our summer of devastating wildfires.

The federal grant will pay for restoration projects in the Waldo Canyon and High Park burn areas.

The work includes stabilizing soil, stopping runoff and protecting watersheds. Mudslides have been reported in both burn areas this fall.

“After the High Park Fire, once the fire was contained, even a little bit before, we started doing a burn area emergency response,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Reghan Cloudman.

Part of that emergency response was to aerial mulch some of the steep hillsides burned in the High Park Fire.

“It’s really an erosion issue. The fire has taken away the ground cover in those areas where we have a lower severity burn, the grasses and the shrubs come back a lot quicker but in places where the fire burned hotter it takes longer for it to come back,” said Cloudman.

About 600 of the planned 800 acres have been mulched. When the skies clear, crews will be working around the clock to place all the mulch before winter really moves in.

Another 5,000 acres will be mulched next spring. The U.S. Forest Service wanted to handle the most severe areas over the winter before spring runoff could cause more problems.

The High Park Fire killed one person and destroyed 259 homes. It started June 9 and burned more than 87,000 acres. It is the second-largest and second-most destructive fire in Colorado history.

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