San Juan National Forest has issued a plan for stabilizing and restoring the environment after damage from the 416 Fire.
Work has already started in secured areas as the plan begins with its first steps toward restoration: repairing damage caused by firefighting efforts. This includes bulldozer lines, staging areas and other construction used to slow fire growth.
In a U.S. Forest Service press release, concerns outlined the impact of vegetation loss on the region. Increased soil erosion and water runoff could cause flooding, and the increased water movement could mean more sediment making its way into reservoirs where water supplies and certain species are at risk.
Consequently, the Burned Area Emergency Response team will prioritize houses, businesses and water supplies underneath steep slopes prone to excessive runoff. Long-term priorities by San Juan National Forest staff will include restoring trails and fences and reforestation.
Persisting hot and dry weather continues to provide conditions ideal for fire growth in the Four Corners, leaving fire restrictions in place. The 416 Fire is now at 35,195 acres and 36 percent contained. Burnout operations are causing heavy smoke to appear in parts of Montezuma and La Plata counties, with smoke largely moving eastward.