BLM Aerial Seeding of Fire Damaged Areas
On Feb. 12, 2014, the BLM Elko District Office, offered the public an opportunity to view aerial seeding of lands near Lee, Nev. impacted by the Smith Ranch Fire during July 2013. The Smith Ranch Fire started July 19, 2013 and was contained on July 25 after burning 2,759 acres.
The small crowd who attended received a brief overview on fire operations from Tyler Hecht, Incident Commander and Fire Operations Supervisor. After learning about the fire progression and containment, Tyson Gripp, Natural Resource Specialist, spoke about aerial seeding operations, seed mixes and treatment plans.
While the public looked on, the helicopter returned from an application and dropped off the seeding bucket for another round. After safely unhooking, refilling and rehooking the bucket, Alec Goicoechea, let the public move closer to the operational area to look at the seed, the seed mixer/auger and an unused aerial seed bucket.
Seeding treatments included both rangeland drills and aerial application, and focus on the rehabilitation of Greater Sage-grouse and other critical wildlife habitat. Drill seeding was completed on the Smith Ranch fire last November and aerial seeding was completed Feb. 13. (Lesli Ellis Wouters, Elko District public affairs specialist)
Banner: Matt Murphy, Wells Station fire operations supervisor, prepares to back up to the aerial seeding bucket once it is dropped off by the helicopter and the helicopter is clear. Attached to Murphy's truck is the seed mixer full and ready to be loaded into the bucket via the auger.
Top: Natural Resource Specialist Tyson Gripp, explains the operation of aerial seeding to members of the public.
Bottom: Unit Aviation Manager Alec Goicoechea, watches as the seed mixture flows into the seeding bucket. Buckets can carry approximately 452 pounds of seed. Fire operations crews and Al Aero aviation dispersed roughly 16,000 pounds on the Smith Ranch fire area.