Around 6,000 acres of dead trees in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin will be thinned to prevent wildfires. The move is part of a plan introduced last week at a meeting of the Sawtooth Valley Wildland Fire Collaborative.
The Collaborative was founded five years ago in the wake of the devastating Halstead Fire that scorched 179,000 acres. One of the key partners is the nonprofit Sawtooth Society, whose mission is to protect more than half a million acres of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
According to the plans outlined at the meeting, the group will start thinning the forest this summer, with a majority of the work happening in 2018. Thousands of dead lodgepole pines encircle the basin and valley. The trees fell victim to the lodgepole pine bark beetle, which has been killing the trees for the last five to ten years.
A co-chairman of the Collaborative is Steve Botti – he’s also the president of the Stanley City Council. He tells the Times News that for the moment, all anyone in the region can do is hope a big fire doesn’t break out. But his co-chairman, Gary O’Malley, says plans are now in place that should reduce the future risk of fire damage.
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