Recovery efforts continue in South Dakota more than 20 years after the Jasper Fire

The Jasper Fire burned more than 83,000 acres throughout South Dakota back in 2000. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has been working since 2002 to replant trees to help the forest fill back in. However, federal forestry experts say the results of their two decades of hardwork won’t be fully realized for another six to eight decades.

It is estimated the USFS crews plant 150,000 seedlings across 400 acres each year. Scott Jacobson, a public affairs officer with the Black Hills National Forest shares the benefit from this in the future:

“So there [are] no trees, generally to speak of, in the vast area that was burned,” explained Jacobson. “And so, you know, [in]80 to 100 years, that area will be available for timber harvest kinds of operations and thinning. But we also put trees back in the landscape to keep the soils in place for water purposes — and just for recreation purposes and wildlife.”

Each Forest Service contract employee plants about 1,000 per day while on the job.

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