San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) September 10, 2013
As the battle against the blaze continues, the Tuolumne River Trust called on Congress to ensure sufficient funding for restoration in the aftermath of the fire. They also launched their own Rim Fire Recovery Campaign and released new video footage of the first trip down the burned-out river canyon since the Fire (available online at http://www.tuolumne.org). As Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) teams work to assessing the damage, the group is concerned that funding for implementation could dry up. On average, BAER program expenses amount to about 5% of the cost of fire suppression, which would amount to just over $5M at the moment, but officials have already acknowledged that it will cost tens of millions.
“96% of the Rim Fire has burned in the Tuolumne River Watershed causing widespread damage to an incredibly special place that millions of people depend on and enjoy,” said Eric Wesselman, Executive Director of the Tuolumne River Trust. “We’re looking to Senators Feinstein and Boxer to lead the way to make sure the funding is there to repair the damage.”
The fire has burned through habitat for precious wildlife and 40 miles of the wild and scenic Tuolumne River corridor, leaving unstable dead trees and bare soil primed for erosion. Whitewater rafting companies and other local business have lost business at the height of the tourist season, and thousands of people who have enjoyed family trips to the Berkeley Tuolumne and other family camps are mourning.
“Ultimately, no matter what Congress does, it will be up to local agencies and organizations like ours to see the recovery effort through,” said Patrick Koepele, the Tuolumne River Trust’s Deputy Executive Director who will be overseeing their Recovery Campaign. “That’s why we’ve launched our campaign to repair damage done to the environment, recreation and the local economy in the Tuolumne River Watershed.”
The group is planning to organize volunteer teams to help with the recovery, support the local economy, and help convene public and private stakeholders in the Tuolumne River watershed to support the recovery in the months and years ahead.
Learn more about the Tuolumne River Trust’s Rim Fire Recovery Campaign and how you can help online at http://www.tuolumne.org or follow the discussion on twitter at #RimFireRecovery.