This project is being funded by a CAL FIRE, Forest Health Grant utilizing funding from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The project proposes to remove hazardous vegetation in CAL FIRE’s highest priority areas in Lake County, where Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) fuel loads have created dangerous conditions and increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. Some of the identified fuel loads are a result of previous catastrophic wildfires; the Valley Fire (Sept. 2015) and the Mendocino Complex Fire (July 2018).
The purpose of this forest health and fire resilience project is to reduce ladder fuels and understory vegetation in the treatment areas outlined in Appendix A in order to reduce wildfire severity and rate of spread in the event of a wildland fire, and to improve the ecosystem health of a forested area. Some stands may be thinned lightly to reduce canopy overlap and reduce the risk of crown fire, but mature, healthy trees will be preserved to maintain ecosystem health.
The parcels listed in this project have not burned in the last half century and pose a potentially serious threat to surrounding residents, as well as the Middletown area, in the event of a severe wildfire encroaching from the south. Additionally, the treatment area and surrounding areas would suffer the loss of mature vegetation and a unique ecosystem should the area burn at high severity. These fuel reduction activities are intended to protect both life and ecosystem health. Additionally, CalFire has used the property to access an existing fuel break along the county line. Conducting fuel reduction along this access route will support CalFire’s ability to defend Lake County from wildfire.
No healthy, living trees larger than 16”dbh will be removed unless they pose a serious threat to life or property.
Fuel reduction activities will avoid:
? Sensitive habitat, including riparian areas or wetlands.
? Cultural and historic sites.
? Disturbance to individual specimens of rare, threatened, or endangered species.
? Ground disturbance that could result in sediment delivery to watercourses.
Fuel reduction activities will be carried out using a variety of methods including mastication, hand crews, chipping, grazing, hand piling and machine piling, dozers and prescribed burning. Overall ground disturbance will be kept to a minimum and stumps will not be removed or disturbed. No more than 1 cubic meter of soil will be disturbed per acre, in conformance with CAL FIRE’s guidelines. Any trees removed will be removed using the Tree Mortality Task Force Guidelines, 2016. No new roads or trails will be constructed. There will be no disturbance of known rare, threatened or endangered species or significant cultural resources.