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).
This treatment area includes area burned in the Valley Fire (11285 Mapes Pass and south) and area just outside the burn scar of the Valley Fire (north of 11285 Mapes Pass) (See Appendix A for Project Map). In the burned portion of the treatment area, the goals of the work will be to promote natural regeneration and facilitate small areas of reforestation where appropriate, as well as to reduce the hazard of a future fire. To achieve this, workers will remove standing dead trees and dead vegetation that still poses a fire hazard; thin brush around naturally regenerating pine and fir; thin basal re-sprouting around oaks; plant small areas of ponderosa pine and douglas fir; clear brush along evacuation routes; and clear brush along access routes that will allow further management in the future.
In the unburned portion of the treatment area, work will focus on reducing the severity of future wildfires that may burn through the area. To achieve this, workers will remove beetle- and drought-killed conifer; thin understory vegetation and ladder fuels; and reduce surface fuels.
No healthy, living trees larger than 16”dbh will be removed unless they pose a serious threat to life or property. The work is intended to encourage the growth of healthy forests where possible; reduce the threat to ecosystem health, human life, and property in the event of a wildfire; and foster biodiversity while maintaining a lowered fire risk in areas that may never regrow as forest following the Valley Fire.
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.