Saturday, May 30, 2020
Baldy Fires to Ready Ski Resort for Ski Season
Log piles have proliferated faster than bunny rabbits on Baldy this summer.
Saturday, October 5, 2019


Don’t panic if you see smoke or flames rising from the Frenchman’s area of Baldy today.

Sawtooth National Forest Fire personnel will burn slash piles in the Frenchman drainage for the next two to three weeks.

The slash is what’s left over from a project cutting 50 acres of trees on Baldy this year as part of the  Healthy Forests Initiative being pursued by the U.S. Forest Service, Sun Valley Resort and the Bureau of Land Management to promote long-term forest health and resiliency.

Ketchum Ranger District Ranger Kurt Nelson estimated trucks have taken a hundred loads of logs to the bottom of Bald Mountain. And some harvesting remains to be done.

Most of the logs are being taken to the snow storage site that some people refer to as the Ketchum Glacier off Serenade Lane at Ketchum’s south end. Additional piles have been stacked on the Cold Springs side behind St. Luke’s Wood River.

The Forest Service sold the logs to Sun Valley Resort, which has sold some of the logs, said Nelson.

Trees were harvested on 20 acres in the Cold Springs area to help ready the site for the installation of the new Cold Springs lift next summer and to address beetle kill in the area. The rest involves trees along both sides of Can-Can, as well as 17 to 18 acres below the Lilly Marlane cat track.

That should result in fabulous glade skiing this year, Nelson said with a big grin on his face.

Much of the residual is being lopped to two feet or less. And a wood thinning project in the Can-Can area that was left unfinished last season is also being cleaned up.

Workers are using a harvester, which uses a winch to move up and down steep slopes up to 85 percent, to cut trees. The harvester travels up or down a 60- to 70-foot corridor, cutting trees up to 30 feet on either side of the corridor. It drives on slash to reduce soil impacts from the tracks.

A forwarder follows, picking up the logs and taking them to landing spots to load the logs onto trucks.

Forest Service officials will coordinate prescribed burning with the National Weather Service and air quality regulators to determine the best possible weather conditions for burning that will promote smoke dispersal, limiting smoke impacts to the Wood River Valley.

Questions? Call Matt Filbert with the Sawtooth National Forest at 208-622-5371.


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