The Tepee Springs Fire
near Riggins burned nearly 100,000 acres through the late summer and into September, but it's now nearly 90 percent contained. The number of firefighters has dwindled to 400—down from almost 1,000—as the fire has been brought under control and most of the areas surrounding it—including the forested areas, Salmon River and the Salmon River Road—are once again open.
A Burned Area Emergency Response team has begun assessing the area, according to a news release from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. The team is made up of officials from the Payette National Forest, the Nez-Perce National Forest and Cottonwood District of the Bureau of Land Management.
Experts on the team include hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, biologists, vegetation specialists, archaeologists and others who tasked with evaluating the area and prescribing emergency stabilization treatments.
The BAER assessment will be used to determine possible threats to life, property, and critical natural and cultural resources. The assessment will take a few weeks, then the team will start on a treatment plan for the scarred land. The team will make plans for erosion and sedimentation stabilization. Approved treatments will be completed within a year.
A series of drone missions
will continue throughout the weekend while the Textron Company—makers of Cessna and Bell Helicopter—tests a 75-pound unmanned aircraft that can gather real-time information on fire growth, burn intensity, fuels and heat concentrations, as well as risks of erosion and runoff, and wildlife and vegetation impacts in inaccessible areas.
The drone flew for six hours on Sept. 18.