The proposed project will create a shaded fuel break extending up to 45 feet form one or both sides of Wilder Ridge Road. Treatment would occur on several rural residential properties where the Mattole Restoration Council (MRC) has received signed access agreements from all private landowners. The proposed project will reduce fire fuels by pruning, limbing, and brushing horizontal and vertical roadside tree and shrub vegetation using chainsaws and hand tools at various widths from one or both sides of the road, depending on need, aspect (some areas are very steep), and landowners concerns. Only trees 8 inches diameter breast height (DBH) or less will be cut down, as needed. DBH will be measured at 4 feet above the ground surface. Limbing tree branches will only occur up to a height of 6 feet. Tree spacing will be 15-30 feet apart depending on need. The total project area is approx. 29 acres. CA Conservation Corps (CCC) will use mechanical weed pullers to remove some areas of Scotch broom, French broom, and coyote brush to inhibit re-sprouting. herbaceous plant species will not be removed as part of this project. The project will concentrate where fuels are obviously heavy and in need of treatment in order to protect structures from wildfire. Project activities would avoid any of the riparian areas associated with creeks and drainages adjacent to the project site.
The purpose of the project is to reduce fuel loads and protect homes along an important ingress and egress for the Wilder Ridge and greater Honeydew communities in the Wildland Urban Interface areas of the State Responsibility Area. The shaded fuel break will reduce fire potential and severity from a roadside ignition. In addition, because it follows a ridgeline, it will serve as a line of defense for fire personnel should wildfire approach from either side. This project is supported by the CALFIRE Unit Chief, the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council, and the Lower Mattole Fire Safe Council, and is listed as high priority in the Lower Mattole Fire Plan (2002) which is currently being updated as the Lower Mattole Community Wildfire Protection Plan.