Fourmile Canyon Fire aerial mulching to begin Thursday, April 7 (weather permitting)
Boulder County, Colo. – With increased potential for flooding, debris flows and weed invasion in the Fourmile Canyon Fire area due to loss of vegetation and bare slopes, the Boulder County Fire Rehabilitation Implementation Team is conducting a series of treatments aimed at reducing erosion and weeds in the areas hardest hit by the fire that burned more than 6,000 acres and destroyed 169 homes last September.
Aerial mulching treatments will consist of certified weed-free straw and WoodStrawÓ being dropped in pre-determined areas from helicopters. Target areas were determined by a set of criteria that includes slope, burn severity, flood/debris flow risk, and values downstream (including human life, safety and property). In total, approximately 1,960 acres will be aerially mulched inside the fire boundary.
Aerial operations will begin on April 7 (weather permitting) in the vicinity of Sugarloaf Road and Fourmile Canyon Drive and move to areas within Sunshine Canyon on or after April 12. Flights will operate for about two weeks (up until April 23) depending on weather conditions throughout the mulching period.
Helicopters will be flying during daylight hours only beginning as early as 7 a.m., and residents can expect temporary road closures as helicopters fly overhead. Additionally, heavy truck equipment will be used in the vicinity of Sugarloaf Road and Sunshine Canyon to deliver straw and support equipment for the aerial flights.
Hand seeding is taking place along roads and driveways in areas that were moderately to severely burned, and with less than 60 percent slope. Roads and driveways are targeted because vehicles are a common way that weed seeds are transported. In total, approximately 500 acres will be seeded utilizing the help of volunteers.
Call the Fourmile Rehabilitation Hotline at 303-413-7010 for the latest updates on seeding and aerial mulching activities. Message boards or flaggers will be located in the vicinity of work being performed to alert residents of any delays or modifications to traffic patterns.
Due to safety regulations and FAA requirements, no one can be in the immediate areas where mulch is being dropped.
Residents and workers in the mulching areas for Gold Hill, Four Mile Canyon, Sugar Loaf and Sunshine Canyon will be asked to leave the area for the day, and bring in pets/livestock while their specific block or neighborhood is being mulched.
Boulder County Sheriff’s patrols will be active in the area to maintain public safety for the duration of the treatments. The Sheriff’s Office asks everyone to be mindful of the following privacy and public safety rules:
- Motorists must not block traffic on any public right of way.
- Everyone must stay at least 200 feet outside of the perimeter of active aerial mulching treatment areas at all times so as not to impede operations.
- No trespassing is allowed on private property including driveways, turn-offs, private roads or other private property.
- Cyclists are asked to avoid Sugarloaf Road, Fourmile Canyon Drive, and Sunshine Canyon Drive while helicopter flights are occurring (April 7-23).
For additional information and maps showing the treatment areas go to: www.bouldercounty.org/fourmilefire.