When Mike Otterstrom hikes into the hills near his parents' Carson City home and sees the damage done by last year's Waterfall fire, he also sees an obvious way to help.
The Carson City High School student, vying to become an Eagle Scout, is trying to organize the planting of 1,000 Jeffrey pine trees in the hills between the Timberline and Lakeview subdivisions in west Carson City.
The Boy Scout has hiked in the area regularly for years, and it's never been less enjoyable. Along with destroying 18 homes and 26 other buildings, the Waterfall fire burned nearly 8,800 acres of trees, brush and grass in west Carson City last summer.
With less vegetation, there is less wildlife. And with less of both, there's less reason than ever for a scout to go there. Unless it's to rehabilitate it, of course.
"The area was pretty affected," Otterstrom said. "It's kind of depressing to look at it right now."
Otterstrom said he has already gathered about 80 volunteers for the cause, but he'll need "at least more than 100."
The Nevada Division of Forestry is providing the trees, rooted in little paper cups that will disintegrate as the trees grow and take root.
The two-year-old sprouts, at 2 feet to 3 feet long, will be planted on either April 16 or April 23, depending on weather and the schedule of timber salvaging efforts in the area.
Recent snow and rain storms in Carson City have pushed back timber salvaging efforts in the Waterfall fire burn area a few days, said Carson City Open Space Manager Juan Guzman. And recent wind storms have made the area more dangerous as dead trees snap and blow over.
To keep tree planters out of harm's way, the project is being coordinated with state forestry officials and city open space personnel handling the salvage operation.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to help replant the area should call Otterstrom at 885-7049.
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at email@example.com or 881-1217.