SPOKANE, Wash. — It took fire crews nearly a week to contain the Upriver Beacon Fire that burned 115 acres just off of East Upriver Drive in Spokane Valley last month.
At its peak, 1,300 homes were under evacuation orders. Three weeks after the fire, one section of Camp Sekani Park still has charred forest land, weakened trees, and eroded soil.
"The landscape has changed quite a bit, with the loss of trees and vegetation on the ground the soils are more unstable and so there has been some erosion and that's going to be focus of our initial monitoring," said Angel Spell, Assistant Director of Natural Resources for the Spokane Parks and Recreation.
The City Parks and Recreation department is in the midst of restoration and recovery efforts. Park officials said 42 acres in the northwest end of the park burned.
"Ponderosa Pine Forest are very good at restoration on their own. They don't need a lot from us. So we just have to protect the area as much as we can," said Spell.
To do the part, the city is working with the Department of Natural Resources, Greater Spokane Emergency Management, Spokane County, private property owners, and local volunteer groups.
Evergreen East Mountain Bike Alliance is one of those groups. The organization has already put in more than 55 hours of volunteer trail work and it's an ongoing process of maintaining the trails and taking care of downed and unstable trees.
"We're fortunate because we have so many stakeholder with eyes, feet and bicycles on the ground," said Spell.
The work is a critical effort to make sure the park land is safe to use and enjoy.