Dollar Ridge Burn Scar Showing Remarkable Regrowth
Jul 8, 2019, 9:06 PM | Updated: 11:08 pm
DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah – A year after the massive Dollar Ridge fire erupted and burned more than 70,000 acres, signs of life are returning to the landscape.
And wildlife biologists with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are encouraged at what they are seeing – wild flowers and green grass, amid the remnants of burnt brush that covers acres and acres of land burned by fire.
“Going from completely scorched land that looked like Mars and today and it’s just amazing – grass and vegetation created awesome wildlife habitat,” said Derrick Ewell, a wildlife biologist with the DWR.
In addition to the property lost, including cabins and RV’s, there was a lot of concern for big game and other wildlife, in such a vast area destroyed.
But tracking technology and trail cameras gave biologists a much different perspective on how animal life was impacted.
“We did have GPS collars up there for moose and elk and they actually stayed in the area. When it was immediately burning right there they left, but then they came right back,” he said.
Much of the land naturally blossomed, thanks to the wet spring. 13,000 acres were part of a re-seeding project last fall.
But not all of the burn scar is on the road to recovery. In areas of steep rocky terrain, it will take years, perhaps decades for the land to heal.
“The major focus for the rehabilitation for the next several years is going to be on the Strawberry River in snow there were debris flows the road above Timber Canyon and Strawberry River has been washed out it needs to be rebuilt,” said Tory Mathis, a rehabilitation biologist for the DWR.
However, the long-term effect for wildlife is expected to be good, generating improved habitat for wildlife.
“I anticipate that over the next couple years and probably for the next decade, this fire is going to increase the health of the deer and elk her” Ewell added.
As people begin to return to this area to recreate, officials are warning people to watch out for thunderstorms this summer and fall that could produce heavy rain and trigger flash flooding throughout many areas of this burn scar.