Seven months after Baker County fought its largest wildfire ever, a helicopter has returned to the region — this time with wood instead of water.
The Baker City Herald reports that the chopper is dropping hundreds of tons of wood mulch on land burned by the Cornet-Windy Ridge fire. The Forest Service hired Mountain West Helicopters of Provo, Utah, for the work.
The mulch is expected to stabilize steep slopes that were stripped of vegetation by the fire.
Ray Lovisone of Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is overseeing the work. He says it will reduce the risk of mudslides in Stices Gulch and along Highway 245.
Lovisone says the work focuses on about 88 acres where the combination of steep ground and high-intensity fire has caused a high risk of slides.