Benmore Valley Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project


SCH Number
Public Agency
Lake County
Document Title
Benmore Valley Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
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 goals of this forest health and fire resilience project are to remove dead and downed wood in the treatment areas outlined in Appendix A that were burned in the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire; to replant certain burned areas with native oak; and to thin underbrush in certain areas to the point where they can be safely broadcast burned. The purpose of this work is to reduce wildfire severity and rate of spread in the event of a wildland fire, and to improve the ecosystem health of forested and woodland areas. The 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire burned through part of the treatment area and has caused oak and conifer mortality. Removing dead and downed wood in these areas will allow access for reforestation. Preparing areas for safe broadcast burning, and employing low intensity prescribed fire, in treatment areas that have not yet burned could prevent the scale of vegetation mortality seen in the Mendocino Complex Fire from happening again. It will also protect structures in the Benmore Valley area. 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, 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.

Contact Information

Sateur Ham
Agency Name
Lake County Community Development Department
Job Title
Assistant Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency


Northern California, Unincorporated
Cross Streets
Benmore Valley
Total Acres
Parcel #
007-001-34, 007-001-28, 007-001-27, 007-001-26, 007-001-06, 007-001-25, 007-001-07, & 007-001-31
Other Information
3245, 3275, 3295, 3290, 3303, 3417, 3521 & 3561 Benmore Valley Rd, Lakeport CA. 95453

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Emergency Project
Type, Section or Code
Sec. 21080(b)(4); 15269(b)(c)
Reasons for Exemption
This fuel reduction project focuses on management of the excessive fuel loads around the Wildland Urban Interface in Lake County. It is directly related to several catastrophic wildfires that the County has endured, two of which were declared emergencies. The Valley Fire was declared an emergency on September 13, 2015 and The Mendocino Complex was declared an emergency on July 28, 2018. Additionally, the existing and prolonged drought conditions in the State are contributing to the increased rick of catastrophic stand-replacing wildfire and increased risk of loss of life and property. Several Proclamations of State of Emergency related to extreme DROUGHT conditions and increased risk of catastrophic wildfire have been issued by Governor Gavin Newsom. The project meets the criteria for emergency exemptions because it will maintain and repair property damaged by wildfire, protect public facilities essential to public health and safety, and will prevent or mitigate future and imminent wildfire emergencies. The Lake County Community Development Department finds that this project complies with the intent and overall direction of the State Proclamations of Emergency and is thereby exempt from the provisions of CEQA.
County Clerk


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