Forest Service seeks input for Caldor Fire tree removal project
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.– The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) is seeking public comments on a proposal to remove hazardous trees from the Caldor Fire area. The Tahoe Basin Caldor Hazard Tree and Fuels Reduction Project would improve safety and reduce fuel loading by removing fire-killed trees or those likely to die because of fire damage as well as other trees that pose a hazard to roads, trails, private property boundaries and developed recreation sites impacted by the Caldor Fire.
“Improving public safety by reducing the amount of hazard trees within the popular trail network damaged by the Caldor Fire is a top priority,” said Forest Supervisor, Erick Walker. “The project is also an important step toward helping our community heal and re-engage with the land they love.”
The proposed project aligns with the recently announced 10-year strategy to confront the wildfire crisis in areas adjacent to national forests where wildfires pose the most immediate threat. The strategy, Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests, combines historic investment with years of planning and research to dramatically increase the scale of forest health treatments over the next decade.
The project area includes approximately 1,528 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands burned during the Caldor Fire and approximately 50 acres of NFS lands disturbed during Caldor Fire suppression actions. The proposal also includes the planting of native trees and vegetation in priority areas impacted by dozer line construction and in areas where hazard trees are removed.
Proposed tree removal would be accomplished using mechanical harvesting equipment on slopes less than 50 percent, while hand crews would remove trees on steeper slopes. Cut material would then be removed for biomass utilization; chipped or masticated on site; piled for burning later; and/or used in some areas to stabilize soil. Native seedlings would be planted in areas where fire damaged tree stands are not likely to produce future trees and where needed to promote species diversity.
The Caldor Fire burned approximately 9,985 acres within the Tahoe Basin, and approximately 55 miles of dozer lines were constructed to contain the fire in order to protect South Lake Tahoe communities. Many fire-killed trees were felled during fire suppression efforts to protect firefighters and firefighting resources, and preliminary emergency rehabilitation treatments were accomplished to stabilize soils in areas impacted by dozer line construction. Additional repair and rehabilitation work in the fire area is ongoing.
Activity in the project area could begin as early as mid-May and project implementation could start this summer.
The proposed action with instructions on how to comment is available at https://go.usa.gov/xt7VX. Comments will be accepted for 30-days, beginning with the publication of the legal notice in the Tahoe Daily Tribune on Feb. 11, 2022. Comments are most useful if submitted by March 14, 2022, at 11:59 p.m., PST. For more information on the project, contact Aimee Lorincz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Restoration planning activities will also be starting soon on the Eldorado National Forest (ENF). Strategic fuel reduction to protect communities and infrastructure, salvage of fire affected trees, reforestation, trails restoration, and prescribed fire are among the activities that will be proposed throughout the fire area. If you would like to be notified when there are opportunities to comment on fire restoration proposals for the ENF, please contact email@example.com.
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