Craig Thomas photo by Annie Dean
Our meeting on June 6th, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was well attended with 18 members of the public and agencies present. At least a couple of participants were not able to attend due to their volunteer service on the fire department that was fighting the Payne Fire.
Craig Thomas with the Sierra Forest Legacy gave a presentation on the importance of restoring fire on the landscape in the Sierra Nevada. Fire has been an important part of the Sierra Nevada’s forests probably since the end of the ice age approximately 10,000 years ago. Prescribed fire was practiced by Native Americans for at least several hundred years prior to European settlement. Consequently fire was a key part of the environment that produced the ideal natural forest that we think of and have tried to protect by suppressing fire. Unfortunately in many places this has led to an overstocked unhealthy forest which is prone to catastrophic wildfires that did not occur prior to about 1880 when the policy of fire suppression was implemented. Prescribed fire or controlled burns can restore fire to the landscape and reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires. Craig Thomas’ presentation is available on the downloads page and is well worth reviewing for those that were unable to attend the meeting.
The MOU Fire Partnership was initially formed between the Sierra Forest Legacy and CALFIRE to promote the return of fire to the landscape. The partnership has since been joined by Region 5 of the US Forest Service, the California Forestry Association, several other non-government organizations, and three prescribed fire councils. We are hopeful that the Carson Ranger District and/or the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest of Region 4 will also join.
Participant updates included the following. The Alpine Watershed Group’s monitoring training is up and running. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is interested in collaboration on private land to promote forest and watershed health. The BLM is looking at options for fuels reduction near Manzanita Lane. The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest has policy changes related to cutting firewood and portions of the Washington Fire area will be open for firewood cutting. The CHIPS crew has embarked on a four year Tahoe Restoration Agreement with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit for work on sacred grounds and fuels reduction. Up to 32 members will receive fire training and two or three will be selected for full time training and positions with the Forest Service. The Sierra Forest Legacy is reviewing the El Dorado and Stanislaus National Forests’ updates to their forest plans. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Governing Board approved new Proposition 1 grant guidelines and the grant application process will open on June 15. Eight million dollars are available. There will be a Trails Workshop in Mammoth on July 8-9, combining classroom and outdoor training with high level experts. The Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group is working on a six month strategic planning process to prepare beyond CFLRA funding. Saving the West was awarded a Wood Utilization Grant for $250,000 to study the availability of biomass and possible commercial uses for it in the eastern Sierra Nevada and western Nevada.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday July 11th in the late afternoon and evening It will be a joint meeting with the Alpine Watershed Group and will include a tour of the West Carson Project followed by a discussion and regular meeting. Details to come.
To contact us you can either leave a comment on this blog, or for a private comment, visit our contact us page.
The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service. This organization is an equal opportunity provider.