February 14, work crews arrived on site to find one of their machines inoperable. The masticator owned by the contracted party, CR Fence, was not working. After further investigation, the owner discovered operating wires had been cut.
It’s believed the wires to the masticator were cut sometime between 5 p.m. Monday, February 13, and 8 a.m. Tuesday, February 14. The estimated cost of damages is $1,624 plus a day of work. The City’s private contractor is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects involved in this case. Additionally, someone moved the City’s survey flagging markers, forcing staff to repeat the work. There was also damage to a property line monument, which is a violation of Idaho Code 54-1234 and is punishable by a fine of up to $1,500.
The project includes the removal of juniper trees and other vegetation through mastication (chipping). While in other areas, the trees are being piled up for future burning or chopped up into 3’ lengths and scattered. Crews have been working in this area since December and the project is expected to be completed by the end of March. The project’s goal is to conduct wildfire fuels mitigation on approximately 70 acres of City-owned gullies located east of Satterfield Drive. The gullies are located off Summit Drive, Granite Drive, North Ridgewood Road, Shadow Pines Way, and Satterfield Drive. This project is funded with a US Forest Service Western States Fire Managers Grant. This project aims to reduce the dense ladder fuels on City property in the Wildland-Urban Interface areas of the East Bench. More information about the project and cost reductions for residential fuel removal projects can be found at pocatello.gov/869/East-Bench.
“We have received overwhelming feedback from many residents living in the area supporting the project. It’s unfortunate to have a bad actor(s) cause so much damage and slow down the work,” said Hannah Sanger, Science and Environment Administrator.
If someone has any information on the vandalism, please contact the Pocatello Police Department at 208-234-6100 and ask for Officer Cates.
For more information about the vandalism or the City’s mitigation project, please contact Hannah Sanger, Science and Environment Administrator, at 208-234-6225.