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Healing scars of Rockport fire

Published October 25, 2013 9:46 pm

Reseeding aims to produce grasses, flowering plants and shrubs in the path of the August blaze.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The last time Summit County's Rockport 5 Fire residents may have seen a helicopter buzzing over their heads was to help battle a wildfire raging around them two months ago.

On Friday, the helicopter returned, this time bringing a healing touch to the Summit County burn scar.

The helicopter dropped about 36,000 pounds of seed on nearly 2,000 acres devastated by the August wildfire.

By the time the snows melt in the spring, the Utah Division of Wildfire Resources hopes the burn scar will be teaming with new life — little green buds — from Friday's daylong efforts.

The seeds will produce grasses, flowering plants and shrubs in the burn scar.

As they grow, they'll help stabilize the soil and feed the wildlife displaced by the massive blaze that burned 1,920 acres.

"It's very typical [to do this], particularly on steeper slopes where we're concerned about erosion. We need to get those stabilized," said Scott Walker, the northern region habitat program manager.

Walker said DWR usually uses heavy machinery to reseed an area, but because of the steep slopes, the agency needed the helicopter to reach the area.

The lightning-sparked Rockport 5 Fire, which began in mid-August, quickly tore through the mountainside homes near Rockport Reservoir, destroying eight residences before firefighters got it under control.

Five of the burned homes were in Rockport Estates; of those five, two were primary residences. Of the three burned homes in Rockport Ranch, one was a primary residence, officials said.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Twitter @sltribjanelle