Efforts to bring life back to land charred by the Pine Ridge Fire are underway.
This week, crews are dropping seeds over thousands of acres of scorched land.
Last summer, the Pine Ridge Fire burned close to 15-thousand acres near De Beque.
The dry vegetation burned fast. To keep the area from being taken over by invasive species, the BLM is doing its own planting.
Load after load, Mile High Aviation is filling its planes with seeds then dropping them over the land destroyed by the Pine Ridge Fire.
The BLM says reseeding is the most important component of its rehabilitation project.
Range land management specialist, Jim Dollerschell, says, "What we have is a very unstable site up there. Soils were exposed due to the burning of vegetation, and they're still exposed."
The area is very prone to invasive species.
"In other fire's in this area, when we haven't seeded we've just seen a huge increase in cheat grass," Dollerschell explained.
Reseeding the fire area with native plants, perennial grasses and shrubs, stabilizes the land and prevents erosion.
Small planes are the only way to plant the seeds in the remote area.
Owner of Mile High Aviation, Tim Hauder, says, “The hopper size is about 620 gallons of water. In this case we can get 17-hundred pound of seed per load."
By the time crews are finished they will have delivered 130-thousand pounds of seed to the Pine Ridge Fire Area.
"It’s going to be an operation that will take about four to five days," Dollerschell said.
The process needs to be done now, while there's still snow on the ground.
"The seed sitting on top of the snow will collect heat and by collecting heat it will infiltrate down through the snow,” Dolerschell explained. “The weight of the snow will actually incorporate the seed down into the soil."
"With any luck we'll be about two thirds done today," Hauder added.
The first round of reseeding was done late last summer. With this second round, the BLM is dropping billions of seeds and spending nearly a million dollars.