Saturday, September 29, 2007

Angora: Keep out -- erosion issues

unedited Tahoe Mt. News Sept. article

Warnings issued, erosion control efforts increase

By Kathryn Reed

People walking into the burn area of the Angora Fire have been given warnings by U.S. Forest Service personnel. If they do it again, they could face a citation which is a misdemeanor.
“Education is always the goal, even when we issue a citation,” said Beth Brady, Forest Service fire prevention officer. “We explain to people why the closure is there.”
The agency also makes sure proper signage is posted where the trespassers entered. The no entry rule is to protect people from hurting themselves and the environment.
Forest Service employees also must limit their activity in the burn area.
“We are very conscientious about how much traffic we put in there. Even our monitoring crews are minimizing traffic in there,” Brady said.
For the better part of September it is even more crucial people stay out of the charred area because the Forest Service will be hydromulching. This allows crews to get into the more remote areas, where as rice straw is being strewn on ground closer to roads.
The purpose is to control erosion and stop hillsides from flowing into Lake Tahoe.
“People walking or biking in that area could undermine the treatment,” spokeswoman Cheva Heck said. She added the Forest Service will have a stronger presence during hydromulching to enforce the no entry rule.
The mulch is a paper, wood, fiber mix with water and guar gum to hold it all together. It will be spread on four sections, totaling 636 acres. The remaining acreage was treated with wood and rice straw, which was completed Aug. 29.
As for who started the illegal campfire that erupted into the 3,100-acre blaze and razed more than 250 houses, it’s still unknown.
“We don’t have any other leads to follow. The only way that would change is if someone comes forward,” Brady said.

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