SPF’s First Ever Drone Planting in Loyalton Fire Scar

WATCH the News 4 coverage HERE.

SIERRA COUNTY, Calif. (News 4 & Fox 11) — On a sunny Earth Day northwest of Reno, a small drone took flight for a big mission — reforesting a hillside that burned in last year’s Loyalton Fire.

The drone lifted off to scatter up to 750 Jeffrey pine seedballs over the charred landscape in just a few minutes, then landed to be filled up again.

It’s believed the drone could scatter as many as 75,000 individual seeds on a 25-acre area in just six hours.

U.S. Forest Service officials said the pilot project could be a ‘gamechanger’ for wildfire restoration.

“This gives us an opportunity to seed in areas and plant in areas that typically we wouldn’t go into given slope and topography,” said Matt Zumstein, district ranger for the Carson Ranger District.

It really expands the abilities to revegetate an area post burn and the prospects are exciting.

The pilot project is possible thanks to a partnership between Flying Forests, the Desert Research Institute, the U.S. Forest Service and the Sugar Pine Foundation.

Dr. Lauren Fletcher, who invented the technology, said the method allows for cheaper, faster and safer reforestation.

“Prior to this type of technology, it was really based on hand labor. People walking out with a bag of saplings on their shoulder and one by one planting those individual trees,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher told News 4-Fox 11 it was the first time his company reseeded a burn scar in the U.S. using the drone technology.

2 thoughts on “SPF’s First Ever Drone Planting in Loyalton Fire Scar”

  1. I am in love with this brilliant collaboration of reforestation with disease resistant Sugar Pines!! Not only does this help with erosion control in a burn scar area but you are helping to save “The King of Conifers!”

    I would be interested in helping this effort. I would love to see this project in the Grover Hot Springs and Shay Creek Summer Home area. We have a dear friend that has lived in this area for 41 years. The Tamarack Fire devastated the area and came very close to his cabin. It’s shocking and heartbreaking to see the devastation from the fire. I would love to see the Drone planting of Sugar Pines to help restore and preserve this beautiful and special place!! Contact me and let’s talk about this! I would love to help in some way. Thank You 🙂

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