3 Dec 2008, 11:44am
Latest Fire News
by admin

Fires above Sun Valley create avalanche danger

The Associated Press, 11/29/08 [here]

KETCHUM, Idaho — Wildfires that charred thousands of acres near this central Idaho ski resort in 2007 continue to create headaches for avalanche forecasters wary of snow slides on areas burned clear of sagebrush and other vegetation.

The Castle Rock Fire of 2007 forced the evacuation of more than 2,000 homes and burned to within 50 yards of a $12 million Sun Valley ski lodge atop Bald Mountain.

Despite recent restoration work that’s included putting down mulch and seeding areas with native grasses and shrubs, the scorched areas remain prime avalanche country, said Janet Kellam, the head of Ketchum’s three-person Sawtooth National Forest Avalanche Center.

Of particular concern are burns just outside Sun Valley’s main ski resort on Bald Mountain, where newly brush-free slopes could lure unsuspecting skiers and boarders to duck under ropes and into harm’s way.

“I am concerned about out-of-bounds Baldy,” Kellam told the Idaho Mountain Express. “Very much so.”

Last January, an unusual series of avalanches here hit residential areas and closed a road for six days. The slides were caused by storms that combined rapid snowfall and fierce winds, a common recipe for high avalanche danger. Several homes suffered extensive damage as snow swept over them. … [more]



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