Rain finally puts out fire near Portage, but road closed

Sep 5 2013 - 11:22am

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Fire truck
Fire truck

PORTAGE  - The State Fire, located approximately 8 miles west of Portage, was called controlled on Tuesday after receiving heavy rainfall.

The fire burned close to 16,000 acres of BLM-managed lands in Idaho on the Samaria Mountain range.  Fire intensity in many of the access areas was severe, resulting in complete removal of vegetation.

"We are concerned with numerous factors affecting the fire," said BLM Pocatello Field Manager Dave Pacioretty.  "Specifically, we are concerned about noxious weeds, soil erosion from recent heavy rains, the ability for native vegetation and grasses to come back and motorized travel off designated routes."

In efforts to help rehabilitation, the BLM has coordinated with the Oneida County Commissioners, Samaria Mountain Grazing Association and Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Region 5 to temporarily close motorized travel on Samaria's main access road from Gardner Canyon to North Canyon.  All motorized cross country travel in the area is also prohibited.  The area remains open to foot, horse and other non-motorized uses.

"We hope the temporary closure will allow burned vegetation to re-establish and reduce the risk of illegal off-road cross-country travel," said Pacioretty.

The temporary closure will remain in effect until sufficient vegetation is restored within the burned areas, which the BLM anticipates to be spring of 2014.  The BLM will monitor the restoration efforts while vegetation is recovering to determine adequate vegetation coverage prior to lifting the closure.

For more information, please contact the BLM Pocatello Field Office at 4350 Cliffs Drive, Pocatello, Idaho, phone 208-478-6340.

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