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On our front page this week

  • Nebo Scenic Loop reopens after fires were contained, but restriction continue

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

The Nebo Scenic Loop reopened Saturday after fires were contained. As a result, campgrounds are opened again and, as of 6 p.m. Monday, the U.S. Forest Service released most of its fire fighting squads from duty.

Wet weather this week has helped put out the fires.

There are still burn restrictions in place for the area, and campers are required to build campfires only in developed recreational areas, officials say.

"The weather is deceptive," said a Forest Service spokesperson.

The Forest Service also has sent a "Burned Area Rehabilitation" team to assess the damage caused by the fire and the team, made up of hydrologists, ecologists and other scientists, will determine how deep into the ground the fire burned.

The resulting information will determine whether or not native plants lost to the fire will need to be reintroduced and what can be done to minimize erosion.

If wet weather continues, the team will also decide if a containment basin will be needed. Because fire debris and ash loosens the soil, rain can cause mudslides.

If such a containment basin were to be built, it would catch debris and prevent any kind of a slide.

The Forest Service estimates the 4,378-acre fire caused $463,000 in damage.

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service ended up banning all fires outside established campground fire rings and prohibited the use of combustible motors and chain saws.

The threat of man-made wildfire is behind the strict bans.