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Restoring the Land after the Pony and Elk Wildfires

Mountain Home, ID

The Pony and Elk complex wildfires near Mountain Home had a big impact on the landscape, wildlife, cabin owners, ranchers and recreationists. Touched off by lightning in 100-degree heat, the fires consumed 280,000 acres of rangelands and forests in a matter of days, racing from Black's Creek to Featherville. The blazes also charred 38 homes and 43 outbuildings near Pine and Fall Creek in August 2013.

Immediately after the blazes were contained, federal authorities closed access to fishing and camping along the popular South Fork of the Boise River, shut down 150 miles of ATV trails in the Danksins, and more than 20 ranchers with summer range on BLM and Forest Service lands had to remove their cattle from the burn zone for at least two years to allow the land to heal.

In the fall, federal agencies took quick action to stabilize the soil and restore plant communities, a proactive step to jump-start nature's own recovery. Federal officials explained the highest priorities in crafting an emergency-response strategy.

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