Aerial Mulching Prevents Mudslides in King Fire Burn Area

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With winter rain approaching, the King Fire burn area is becoming more and more prone to mudslides.

"It burned the vegetation and removed the protective cover of the soil," King Post-Fire BAER Team Leader Mary Moore said.

Without that protective layer, a little bit of rain could spell trouble.

To combat potential slides, crews are using rice straw dropped from helicopters. The straw will mix with the existing soil in the Rubicon drainage area.

The National Forest Service is taking care of 950 acres of the most severely damaged areas.

In all, the King Fire burned more than 97,000 acres.

Another reason for all this rice straw being dropped in a criss-cross pattern is to prevent further erosion and, in the long run, we save on our utility bills.

More erosion would mean more dirt filling up SMUD's reservoirs. Smaller reservoirs mean less ability to create hydroelectric power.

SMUD will cover 250 acres, costing about $250,000.

"By not losing that storage capacity in the reservoirs, it will definitely pay for itself in the long run," SMUD's King Fire Recovery Effort Project Manager Grant Nelson told FOX40.

Contractors have 18 days to finish the straw drops. By the end, a part of the blackened El Dorado National Forest will have a new look - a hue of yellow.