This Week Marks One-Year Anniversary of Tamarack Resort’s West State Fire – Fire Inspires New Outlook for Forest ManagementTuesday November 2, 2021
|(Donnelly, Idaho) The West State Fire started last year on this day at 1 p.m., November 2, 2020. It grew to about 50 acres that night and became dramatically visible in Donnelly and Valley County.
The fire burned just 500 feet from Tamarack’s mid-mountain lodge and advanced into treetops, spreading embers quickly. The fire was ultimately kept at about 60 acres and no structures were damaged. But the visibility of the fire and the threat it presented looms large in the minds of residents, visitors, and resort management.
“There’s a lot of lessons you take out of these events,” said Scott Turlington, President of Tamarack Resort. “For us it’s how do we prevent this type of very active fire from happening on other parts of the mountain.”
Tamarack is now working with state, county, local and federal agencies on “No Boundaries Forestry” projects that stretch forest improvements across jurisdictions and property lines.
“These projects help create forests that are more resistant to catastrophic fires by reducing fuels regardless of who owns the forestlands,” said Lynn Oliver, South Idaho Shared Stewardship Coordinator. “We cannot stop fires at jurisdictional boundaries, so our work must extend beyond those lines as well.”
There is already a forest improvement demonstration project underway alongside the resort. The forest was thinned and undergrowth and dead tree branches were removed. Tree branches were trimmed to eliminate “ladder fuels” which can result in rapidly moving fires.
“Fires that are kept low to the ground are easier to suppress compared to crown fires that burn in treetops and can spread much more quickly,” said Stephanie Nelson with Wildfire Prevention Associates which has been under contract with Valley County for 15 years. “This project provides fire protection for homes, while still providing a beautiful recreation area around Tamarack Resort.”
No Boundaries Forestry work is happening around the state and includes Shared Stewardship and Good Neighbor Authority projects. Learn more at https://www.idl.idaho.gov/noboundariesforestry/