Land Rehabilitation
Volunteers spreading mulch over burned landscape

Land Rehabilitation Following a Wildfire

Purpose

A devastating wildfire can lead to loss of vegetation and bare slopes which in turn creates increased potential for flooding, debris flows and weed invasion. After a damaging wildfire like the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire, volunteers – like these shown above with the Boulder County Fire Rehabilitation Implementation Team – are often called upon to undertake a series of watershed-level treatments aimed at reducing erosion and weeds in the areas hardest hit by the fire.

Land Rehabilitation, Stabilization and Watershed Protection

Land damaged by high intensity fires cannot retain rainfall and runoff as unburned vegetated areas do, leading to surface water runoff and debris flows that would not occur during normal rain events in areas where trees and ground cover are present.

In heavily scarred forested areas, federally and state-funded seeding and aerial mulching treatments aimed at preventing soil erosion, decreasing flooding impacts, and preventing weed invasions as a result of the wildfire may be implemented to help restore natural grasses and help prevent further erosion.

More About Land Rehabilitation

After the Fourmile Canyon Fire, an environmental assessment was done to determine post-wildfire threats to soils, vegetation, hydrologic functions such as debris flow in drainages and slopes, trees, transportation infrastructure, abandoned mines, cultural resources, and wildlife.

The analysis determined that an increased threat of flooding and debris flows to homes and infrastructure exists, particularly along the Gold Run Creek and Fourmile Creek watersheds.

It also provides recommendations for treatments that will reduce these risks or threats. See Fourmile Fire Maps of burn area damage and recommended treatments.

Resources for Private Landowners:

  • Land Rehabilitation FAQ Guide. Landowners should continue to consult this list of frequently asked questions for information about what you can do on your own land to help it recover from the fire.
  • Land Rehabilitation FAQ Supplement II. Information for landowners to consider during the second summer post-fire (2012).
  • Land Rehabilitation FAQ Supplement I. A list of frequently asked questions about bark beetle management in the burned area.
  • Call the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) at 303-776-4034 ext. 3 for seeding and soil stabilization recommendations, and for individual consultations about your land.
  • Homeowner’s Sandbag/Erosion Control Guide for Flood, Debris, and Erosion Control. Includes tips on how to properly use sandbags.
  • List of forestry contractors (provided by the Colorado State Forest Service-Boulder District) for help in undertaking work on your land.
  • Private landowners are encouraged to use the resources identified above to protect private land from post-fire degradation and to protect the community against loss of life, property, and shared resources on a watershed level.

Contact Us

Land Rehabilitation


Boulder County Parks and Open Space
303-678-6205

Forest Stewardship

Tree felling and general forestry questions
Colorado State Forest Service – Boulder District
5625 Ute Highway
Longmont, CO 80503-9130
303-823-5774
website

Seeding & Soil Information

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Longmont Field Office
9595 Nelson Rd. Suite D
Longmont, CO 80501
303-776-4034 x3
website