After the Soda Fire ate up nearly 280,000 acres in the southwest corner of Idaho and eastern Oregon in 2015, the Bureau of Land Management launched expansive efforts to rehabilitate the land.
Nearly three years later, the agency is now working to protect their investments from new fire risks. The BLM is partnering with local ranchers to keep grass short along 36 miles of roads in the area.
“If they can be a part of the solution in minimizing these large fires, it benefits them,” says Lance Okeson, the acting Owyhee Field Manager.
He says the partnership with ranchers is different in a few ways.
“We pick the location, we’ve told them what we want for a finished product, now they’re going to make it happen. And we’re not using a lot of extensive fencing either. So they’re having to do a lot of herding and those kind of things – all at their own cost.”
Invasive cheatgrass is a particular target. The grazing project will go until the end of June, when fire season typically picks up on the sagebrush steppe.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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