Mulch from the air helps with AZ forest restoration - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Mulch from the air helps with AZ forest restoration

The Slide Fire started May 20 and was fully contained at the beginning of July, but damaged more than 20,000 acres. (Source: CBS 5 News) The Slide Fire started May 20 and was fully contained at the beginning of July, but damaged more than 20,000 acres. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Seed-free straw mulch is being dropped in sling loads from helicopters to help restore vegetation on hillsides burned in the Slide Rock Fire near Sedona. (Source: CBS 5 News) Seed-free straw mulch is being dropped in sling loads from helicopters to help restore vegetation on hillsides burned in the Slide Rock Fire near Sedona. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Crews are working to ensure that the coming monsoon storms don't further damage Slide Canyon after last month's massive wildfire. (Source: CBS 5 News) Crews are working to ensure that the coming monsoon storms don't further damage Slide Canyon after last month's massive wildfire. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Hundreds of loads of mulch is being dropped over seeded areas, which will help with the germination of the seeds. (Source: CBS 5 News) Hundreds of loads of mulch is being dropped over seeded areas, which will help with the germination of the seeds. (Source: CBS 5 News)
"(The mulch) creates this nice microclimate for (the seeds) to establish, germinate and help stabilize our hillsides," explained Jeremy Haines, the BAER Team leader. (Source: CBS 5 News) "(The mulch) creates this nice microclimate for (the seeds) to establish, germinate and help stabilize our hillsides," explained Jeremy Haines, the BAER Team leader. (Source: CBS 5 News)
SEDONA, AZ (CBS5) -

The U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team is hard at work ensuring that the coming monsoon storms don't further damage Slide Canyon after last month's massive wildfire.

The Slide Fire started May 20. It was fully contained at the beginning of July, but damaged more than 20,000 acres. Much of the chapparal vegetation that burned created a waxy coating on canyon walls, in turn making it very difficult for re-growth to take place naturally.

In order to speed up the process, the BAER Team seeded the area using fixed-wing aircraft. Thursday, choppers dropped hundreds of bales of hay over the seeded areas, which will help with the germination of the seeds.

"It's a seed-free straw mulch that is being delivered from the rim top and being delivered in sling loads and being distributed across the severe burn area around here in the fire," explained Jeremy Haines, the BAER Team leader. 

"(The mulch) creates this nice microclimate for (the seeds) to establish, germinate and help stabilize our hillsides," he said. 

Skilled helicopter pilots drop the bales in tight spaces, while factoring in wind and other environmental conditions.

"These guys are well seasoned. They really know their stuff," Haines said.

The total cost of the restoration project is $1.4 million.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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