Friday, August 8, 2014

Storms bring relief and washouts

Burned areas remain vulnerable to erosion


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

A Forest Service road crew has been laying down stone across Warm Springs Road to repair a section near Frenchmanís Bend Hot Springs damaged by last summerís Beaver Creek Fire. A local resident, left, gets information Wednesday as to when sheíll be able to drive across. Photo by Roland Lane

    Though storms that began in late July brought welcome rain to the Wood River Valley at the end of an otherwise hot and dry month, rain pounding on hillsides denuded by the Beaver Creek Fire has taken its toll.
     A closure of upper Warm Springs Road was reinstated Aug. 1 after several of the 56 culverts installed by U.S. Forest Service crews following the fire last August got plugged by washouts. A gate has been installed just past the confluence with the South Fork of Warm Springs Creek, 13.5 miles from the end of the pavement.
    “Given the unstable nature of the road, we decided let’s keep it closed during these thunderstorm cycles,” Ketchum District Ranger Kurt Nelson said.
    Nelson said a washout down Barr Gulch, near Castle Creek about three miles downstream from the South Fork confluence, brought 6- to 8-foot mound of shale across the road that follows the lower part of the creek. He said the shale was used to repair a quarter-mile section of road near Frenchman’s Bend Hot Springs damaged by washouts since the fire.
    “Since it was in the road and we had the need for some shale, it made for a pretty easy road repair,” he said.
    Nelson said the thunderstorms have been very spotty, with some drainages getting hit hard and others remaining dry.
    He said a crew went to check out the Baker Creek drainage, over the ridge to the north of Warm Springs Creek, but found little damage, other than a washout down Cunard Creek in the upper part of the drainage.
    According to precipitation data collected at the Ketchum Ranger Station, rain has fallen on every day but two since the wet weather began July 29.
    Elizabeth Padian, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pocatello, said the storms were initially the result of a typical late-summer monsoon pattern, in which a high-pressure system sits over the Four Corners area and pushes moisture to the north.
    “Depending where that high is located will determine where the moisture goes and now far north it gets,” she said.
    Padian said this week’s rains were caused by a low-pressure wave that began in the Gulf of California and moved northeast.
    “That moisture was just sitting in the gulf, and the low-pressure was able to transport it directly to us,” she said.
    Padian said the low-pressure system has moved past to the northeast, and the region is back to its typical monsoon pattern. She said there’s still a good chance of mountain thunderstorms for the next week.
    Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist with the Idaho office of the Natural Conservation Service, said the rains did not supply enough water to bring reservoir levels up, though they helped green up pastures. He said most farmers in south-central Idaho are done irrigating for the season. Outflow from Magic Reservoir was shut off on July 19.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads





Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.