WatershedStories from the Smith River Alliance Newsletter
Smith River Complex Fire
Early on the fire caused closure of Hwy 199. The lightning caused fire(s) burned approximately 94,600 acres with over 88,600 acres of that being public land managed by the U.S Forest Service. Photograph by Chris Howard.
It was an intense end of summer and fall due to the Smith River Complex fire. The above photo is from the first few days. Based on the Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment, 51% of the burn area is low, unburned or very low soil burn severity —— while 15% is high soil burn severity.
This info has caused some fire ecologists to observe that overall it was a “good fire.” However, there are many issues about the fire and post-fire activities that are of great interest — so there is more to come in future newsletters. For example, hazard tree removal and abatement. The fire necessitated the closure of Hwy 199, a critical transportation artery connecting Del Norte County with southern Oregon and the I5 corridor.
Even now, Caltrans hazard tree removal work continues within their Hwy 199 right-of-way along the wild and scenic Middle Fork Smith River. Some travelers and observers have expressed concern re the tree removal and its impacts on the wild and scenic character of the Middle Fork Smith River. A review of the hazard tree work is expected both within the Hwy 199 corridor and elsewhere along roads through the National Recreation Area. Achieving essential public safety while maintaining the Smith’s wild and scenic river corridors is a most worthy challenge!
Click here to review the Smith River Complex Post Fire BAER Assessment —– 35 pages of excellent photos, maps and info about Fire Suppression Repair, Emergency Stabilization and Response, and Long-term Recovery and Restoration.