TUSAYAN, Ariz. - Some burned areas from the 2008 X Fire are a little greener after employees planted ponderosa pine seedlings this spring on the Tusayan Ranger District as part of the X Fire Reforestation Project. The 10 acres planted by Forest Service personnel complemented an additional 83 acres planted under contract. Overall 9,200 seedlings have been planted within the fire perimeter, two miles southeast of Tusayan.
It is important to protect the seedlings from elk browse as much as possible while the trees get established. In order to do this, protective shelters were placed over each cone to minimize short-term impacts from elk browsing. Some seedlings will be further protected from browsing through the construction of 8-foot fences. Several fences will be built this year by a Youth Conservation Crew with more planned over the next couple years.
Fire is a natural agent of change in a fire-adapted ecosystem; however, high intensity fire can harm the forest. When high intensity fire occurs, help may be needed to reestablish damaged areas.
"Natural regeneration has not occurred in many areas of the X Fire. These efforts will help reestablish vegetation needed for a healthy forest," said Tusayan Forester and Project Manager Mark Nabel. "A huge thanks goes out to the employees who took time out of their schedules to help with the project."
For additional information, please call Punky Moore, Fire Information Officer, (928) 635-5653.