How do you make sure a wildfire doesn't continue to reek havoc even after it's out? The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) goes to work. Even before the fires start, some folks in the USFS have planned for what to do when they’re extinguished. They even go to work before a fire has been declared contained, prioritizing the threats that must be addressed when the ground cools. Specialists at the USFS usually produce their reports within two weeks of the fire’s containment and ensure they are acted upon in a timely manner.
In the case of the Pony and Ash Creek fires in eastern Montana, federal Burn Area Emergency Recovery crews have already spent almost $1.7 million to revegetate the ground, defend against mudslides and protect water supplies. That figure likely will grow as the 2012 fire season moves into its typical August high gear.