Extreme Fire Necessitates Extreme Remediation

Sept. 6, 2016

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, the Sleepy Hollow fire ignited around 2:15 p.m. in Chelan County, Wash. High winds propelled the fire to the east and south toward the city of Wenatchee. By Monday afternoon, Level Three evacuations were issued to more than 1,000 residents and many businesses in the area. Strong winds and triple-digit temperatures spread the fire quickly from where it started, approximately 3 miles west of the town. Crews and trucks from seven Chelan County fire districts and three Douglas County fire districts responded to the blaze. By Monday evening, aerial bucket drops from two helicopters began assisting with fire control. More than 3,000 acres and 30 homes and businesses were burned in the blaze before it was contained a week later.

The city of Wenatchee and the Community Foundation of North Central Washington funded a restoration project and contracted John Larson of APEX Erosion Control of Clarkston, Wash., to spray the slopes to prevent erosion in the spring. 

NaturesOwn X9000 hydroseeding mulch mixed with organic grass seed varieties found locally was applied to the areas burned by the fire. The hydromulch was
purchased from Hamilton Mfg. Inc. (HMI) of Twin Falls, Idaho. HMI and APEX were able to bring their expertise from past fire reclamation projects to
this project.

The hydromulch is a 100% bio-based blend of high-tensile biodegradable bast fibers, recycled cellulose fibers and non-toxic biopolymer-based tackifier. Contractors have used the mulch for decades and appreciate the product's ease of handling, smooth mixing, seamless application, and cost savings. Its high loading capacity uses less water, which reduces costs for water, fuel and labor.

Projects can be covered quickly with a product that is easy to apply and designed to last. This also helps save water and enhance germination by contouring the mulch to the soil surface to conserve moisture and create a semi-permeable barrier to water loss. Large-scale erosion control testing performed by TRI Environmental shows that the product is 99.7% effective against erosion.

Six months after the hydromulch was applied to the slopes of Sleepy Hollow and less than a year after the devastating fire, new germination can be seen and the area is returning to its previous landscape.