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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Science and Politics of the 1996 Boise Front Fire-What Have We Learned from the 8th Street Fire Rehabilitation

Authors
item Fend, John - USDI-BLM
item Thornton, John - USDA FOREST SERVICE
item Rittenhouse, Dave - USDA FOREST SERVICE
item Pierson, Frederick
item Mickelson, Charles - CITY OF BOISE
item Slaughter, Charles

Submitted to: Proceedings of the Biennial Watershed Management Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: The 8th Street Fire burned 15,300 acres immediately above Boise, Idaho, in August 1996. Immediately downslope from burned watersheds were 12 schools, three hospitals, 65 child care facilities, 25 long-term care centers and numerous public buildings, including the Federal building, City Hall and Stale Capitol. Agency managers, public officials and local citizens expressed concern about the potential for devastating debris torrents and flash flooding. This presentation discusses the process that was implemented locally to manage the recovery of the burned watershed while protecting the lives and properties at risk in town. "Best science" was utilized in preparing the recovery alternatives and actions considered. Public opinion concerning the recovery methods and the impacts to the aesthetics of the watershed landscape had to be dealt with through many hours of public meetings and workshops. We share lessons learned concerning collaboration on a multi-million-dollar landscape rehabilitatio plan covering 12 different agency jurisdictions. Follow-up monitoring and research continue to make this backyard outdoor laboratory a learning tool for the public and for science.

Technical Abstract: The 8th Street Fire intensely burned 15,300 acres of highly erodible granitic soils immediately above Boise, the capitol city of Idaho in August 1996. Immediately downslope from burned watersheds were 12 schools, three hospitals, 65 child care facilities, 25 long-term care centers and numerous public buildings, including the Federal building, City Hall and Stale Capitol. "Best science" was utilized in preparing the recovery alternatives and actions considered. We share lessons learned concerning collaboration on a multi-million-dollar landscape rehabilitation plan covering 12 different agency jurisdictions. Follow-up monitoring and research continue to make this backyard outdoor laboratory a learning tool for the public and for science.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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