The project is a fuels reduction and ecological enhancement effort situated within the WUI north of the City. The majority of the project area consists of overstocked forest stands, or stands where brush has established, creating a wildfire risk. Of the +/-57,300 acres of the project area that are located within the State Response Area (SRA), 80% are classified as “Very High Fire Hazard Severity” (45,666 ac.), and an additional 8% are classified as “High Fire Hazard Severity” (4,330 ac.). This project will implement fuel reduction activities to improve the protection of homes, communities and public and private lands from fire while protecting environmental, natural and cultural resources. Dominant vegetation within the project area includes annual grasslands, black oak, mixed conifer-hardwood forest, Sierra mixed-conifer forest, eastside pine, and scrub communities dominated by sagebrush, bitterbrush, and mountain mahogany. The project will reduce fuel loads in Eastside Pine (EPN), Sierra Mixed Conifer (SMC), Montane Hardwood Conifer (MHC), and Sagebrush (SGB) habitats. Target fuels are brush, and small and suppressed trees. The project also includes the removal of dead, dying and/or hazard trees adjacent to homes that will reduce wildfire risk in the home ignition zone and to utility infrastructure. Portions of the project area, not including the City of Susanville, are relatively remote, and accessible only by private roads. Portions of the project area are fairly steep with the majority of the project area having mild slope. The project objectives are: 1. To enhance ecological health by re-establishing a fine-grain mosaic of habitats and successional stages, promoting the resiliency of oak woodlands, conifer stands, and shrub communities to fire and climate change, and encouraging native species diversity; 2. To implement fuel reduction that will improve public safety for local communities including Susanville, Lake Forest, and Willow Creek; and 3. To provide for the safe and permanent re-introduction of prescribed and cultural fire as a stewardship tool.
To accomplish these objectives, the applicant proposes to reduce scrub continuity and density of small diameter trees through a variety of management techniques to promote a diverse age-class mosaic and reduce wildfire related risks to oak woodlands, conifer forests, and shrub communities. The project applicant is the Lassen Fire Safe Council, Inc.(LFSC), a grass-roots, community-led non-profit organization that mobilizes residents to protect their homes, communities, and environments from catastrophic wildfire. The LFSC is working in partnership with Honey Lake Valley RCD, Susanville Indian Rancheria, Sierra Pacific Industries, W.M. Beaty, and residents living within the Susanville WUI.