SANPETE COUNTY — The burn scar of the Wood Hollow fire was the focus of a massive re-seeding project in the fall of 2012 to prevent erosion and restore a wildlife habitat, and life has finally started to reappear.
The Wood Hollow fire in northern Sanpete County was one of the biggest wildfires during the summer of 2012, burning tens of thousands of acres.
Now out of the ashes, small plants have started to grow, a sign of rejuvenation in the path of a destructive wildfire.
"I would say about 80 percent of my property got burnt," Roy Herman said. "The trees were burnt on it."
Herman spent Memorial Day weekend at his cabin in Big Hollow and spent time replanting.
"I've been planting a few trees today, trying to get some established in there," he said. "Almost all of the Cedars are gone."
In October, the Division of Wildlife resources led the effort to re-seed 25,000 of the 47,000 acres that burned, including Herman's property.
"We think this project has been successful in terms of working together across boundaries with private land owners, federal government and state government," said DWR habitat coordinator Danny Summers.
We think this project has been successful in terms of working together across boundaries with private land owners, federal government and state government.
–Danny Summers, DWR habitat coordinator
A variety of seeds were dropped from small planes during the re-seeding. Now those seeds are dependent on rain during June to help them begin to take root in the soil.
"It is showing some positive signs with things starting to come up," Summers said. "We planted things like sagebrush and Forbs, rice grasses. Those are important for wildlife and livestock."
Restoring the habitat for wildlife, particularly mule deer, is a priority, along with erosion control and eliminating wildfire risk.
"Part of the goal of what we do with reseeding is to establish perinnial plants that compete with cheat grass and help prevent future fires," Summers said.
The amount of rain in the next four to six weeks will be critical in helping the shrubs and grass establish and grow. However, the success of the re-seeding program won't be evaluated for another three years.