Straw mulching begins on burn area |

Straw mulching begins on burn area

Staff report
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal A helicopter drops a load of hay Tuesday afternoon above Ash Canyon on a section of forest burned during the Waterfall fire.

Despite earlier technical difficulties, aerial straw mulching on 4,000 acres burned in the Waterfall fire began Monday, as scheduled.

Reseeding with 96,000 pounds of grass seed was completed last week, and K-MAX firefighting helicopters began mulching with 6.4 million pounds of rice straw Monday.

The seeding was stalled last week when the helicopter contractor had to take a day to fit seed buckets with metal “collars,” for added capacity.

The straw mulching will continue through next Wednesday, said Forest Service spokesman Carl Pence.

After it is dropped, the mulch is expected to stay in place for one to two years to slow runoff from heavy rainfall and help minimize erosion of the bare slopes.

Pence said rice straw is more effective for erosion control than wheat straw because it binds easily.

Pacific Erosion Group LLC of Parker, Colo., was awarded a $1.1 million contract with federal money in conjunction with the Forest Service to spread the seed and straw, using modern, quieter KMAX helicopters.

A public information center has been set up at the Timberline Drive site to address resident questions and concerns.

Resident can also find updated rehabilitation information at