Nevada: New Firefighting plans on state, fed, tribal land

It’s odd how they always blame fire suppression as the reason for
wildfires, but then when we talk about silvilcultural prescriptions,
aka: Logging, it’s as though the way the forest is “managed” isn’t at
all responsible for wildfire? It’s almost as if the notion of fire
suppression implies that our forests aren’t being managed at all? So
which one is it? And is it just a coincidence that the most flammable
fuel classifications are what grows back after you create a clearcut or a
fuelbreak? –Editor, Forest Policy Research

Work is under way to reduce wildfire danger on state-owned land in the
mountains near Spooner Summit, while federal foresters are preparing
plans for similar efforts across thousands of acres nearby. It’s all
part of a goal to ensure flames don’t rocket down the east flank of
the Carson Range, endangering homes in Carson City and Douglas County.
“I don’t know that I could emphasize the importance enough,” John
Copeland, fire protection officer for the Nevada Division of Forestry,
said of the project. His crews have been working on a 130-acre fuel
break on state park land east of the crest of the Carson Range. The
U.S. Forest Service last week released an environmental assessment for
a comprehensive effort to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest
health across a 12,190-acre swath of timbered country.

The plan was
estimated to cost $89 million to $149 million. More than 7,200 acres
of the study area are national forest, with the rest a mix of state,
tribal, private and Carson City-owned land. The idea, Copeland said,
is to avoid a repeat of disasters such as the Waterfall Fire of 2004
that charred 8,700 acres and destroyed 17 Carson City homes. The
Autumn Hills Fire in 1996 burned 3,800 acres and leveled 4 homes in
Douglas County, and the Little Valley Fire burned 5,100 acres west of
Washoe Valley in 1981. Much of the unburned area in the region remains
thickly forested and subject to dangerous downslope winds, combining
to make chances of another serious fire high, experts said. “We want
to try not to have another Waterfall Fire,” said Amanda Brinnand of
the U.S. Forest Service. “Some areas are dense. There’s a lot of fuel
up there and a lot of risk for fire.” Within the 12,190-acre study
area, the Forest Service is considering treatments that could commence
later this year. Affected watersheds stretch northward from an unnamed
drainage in Jacks Valley, through Clear Creek, Kings Canyon and
Voltaire Canyon.
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