RUIDOSO, N.M. (KRQE) - A helicopter contractor is dropping tons of straw mulch in the Lincoln National Forest to restore ground cover on the mountainsides ravaged by the Little Bear Fire.
The chopper with a long line and a net loaded by tractor is treating more than 10,000 acres with the mulch. Coverage is planned at a ton per acre, or about an inch on the ground.
In addition 19,200 acres are being treated with grass seed that germinates quickly with rain.
"The combination of straw mulch and grass seed restores ground cover to the burn area, which slows runoff of water, soil and debris," the Forest Service said in a statement released Wednesday. "This treatment has proven to be highly effective in reducing the impacts of runoff on private lands, property, and other values downstream."
The treatments are only being applied in the national forest because the Forest Service does not have the legal authority to work on private land.
The Little Bear Fire, started by lighting on June 4, destroyed more than 200 homes and cabins and burned more than 44,000 acres near Ruidoso before being contained.
U.S. Forest Service video:
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