As temperatures start to turn warmer and creeks begin to rise, questions have been asked about what impacts spring run-off will have on the scared area left after last year’s Lava Mountain Fire on the Wind River Ranger District of the Shoshone National Forest.
Last fall, a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team assessed the risk to resources that might be caused by spring run-off and/or heavy rains. The BAER team concluded that the road system is at high risk due to the potential for increased sediment delivery, flood flows, and debris flows. To reduce this risk, the following steps will be taken once the snow clears:
* Stabilize roads with rolling dips, waterbars, outsloping, and ditch cleaning,
* Replace undersized culverts, and
* Remove existing culverts; create low-water crossings where practicable.
To complete the necessary work, short term road closures or delays will be implemented on some roads during early summer.
A gate will be placed on Forest Service Road 732 (the road west of the gravel pit); this gate will close the road for the next two to three summers. The BAER team determined that the hillside above Teton Valley Ranch Camp was very unstable and susceptible to sliding. There is a concern that after road work is complete, use during wet periods could create ruts causing water to channel to undesired locations and down the hill, possibly triggering slides. Keeping the road closed will greatly reduce the chances of ruts developing before vegetation is established. Once the vegetation on the hillside has established this risk will be reduced. There will not be any restriction on winter use as that use would not create any ruts in the road.
District personnel will monitor the area regularly to check conditions. The public is encouraged to contact the Wind River District office (307-455-2466) for the latest information or to report any issues they observe.