Our meeting on April 2nd, 2019 at Turtle Rock Park was attended by 29 members of the public and agencies. The meeting featured presentations on past, present and future fuels reduction and watershed restoration projects. Presenters included Kris Hartnett of the Alpine Fire Safe Council (AFSC), Mo Loden of the Alpine Watershed Group (AWG), Anna Belle Monti of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (HT), Tim Roide of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Brian Peters of the Alpine County Community Development Department, and private citizens Rich Harvey and Mark Schwartz. Special thanks are due to Tim Roide of the BLM for providing large scale maps and the digital map outlining project locations.
After the presentations there was considerable discussion on priorities and the need to include multiple interested parties in recommended projects. The first project to attract serious attention was an expansion of the fuels reduction completed by the BLM during the Washington Fire along Poor Boy Ridge. A fuel break in this area could provide some protection from catastrophic wildfire to Markleeville, Markleevillage, and the Hot Springs Corridor which is an important evacuation route. This will involve collaboration of the HT, BLM, and possibly one or more private land owners. It is anticipated that at the May meeting there will be discussion of priority projects in the Woodfords area.
Scoping Study Update: Definition of the scope of work is being done with help from the Sierra Business Council and ABC’s partner CHIPS. Once the scope of work is complete and the consultant selected there will be a public meeting to explain the study and seek public input, probably sometime in May.
Participant Updates: With the permission of everyone present, Mark Schwartz, Concerned Citizens of the Hot Springs Corridor, will be given the contact information of those present. Trina Johnson, Natural Resources Conservation Service, reported that the NRCS has assistance and resources for private land owners. Terry Hughes, reported Eastern Alpine Fire/Rescue is looking at consolidation and the impact this would have on the county. Anna Belle Monti, HT, reminded participants that the HT is available to do site visits. There will be a Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities conference in Reno on April 22nd. More information is available here, and the registration deadline is April 12th. Kris Hartnett, AFSC, reported that they will have a spring flyer with information about CALfire defensible space inspections and dates for the biomass burn pile. Ron Hames reported that the county will host a town hall event to discuss the need for updating the evacuation plans. Kyle Rodgers reported that the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment will be hosting its next SCALE workshop for collaboratives in Jackson on May 30 and 31. The Sierra Institute was awarded funding through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC) to continue their Rural Community Development Initiative. He also recommended Firewise groups as a way to promote public education on defensible space. Avery Hellman reported that they have started some fuels reduction on her 100 acres on Carson River Road and want a site visit for an assessment on their defensible space. Amy Horne, Living Forests, reported on the Mass Timber Conference in Portland. Unfortunately there isn’t a sufficient supply of timber in this area to justify a plant. Matt Streck, CALFIRE, reported that their local station will open in the next few weeks and CALFIRE will be doing defensible space inspections. The first 10 people who call Station 5 at 530-577-5749 to request a custom inspection will get a free CALFIRE hat with their inspection. The inspections take 25 minutes. Teresa McClung, HT, reported that the HT is advertising for the Carson District Ranger Position; the closing date is April 15. James Sinnott reported that he is a new landowner with significant land in the WUI. He wants to be involved in fire prevention efforts and help with resources. David Griffith reported the Inyo National Forest is hosting a seminar with speakers who will address forest health on the east side of the Sierra along with prescribed fire and the effects of smoke. At the last Forest Management Task Force meeting the California Air Resources Board indicated it is now onboard with prescribed burning. Matt Driscoll, SNC, was unable to attend the meeting but David Griffith reported that the SNC Land Conservation Grant Program is accepting pre-funding applications. More information is available here. The SNC is also opening another round of forest health grants. Kevin Wilmot, HT, is optimistic that there will be funding opportunities for good plans. The current goals of the FS are fuel acres treated and timber volume. Don Hittenmiller reported that Rich Adams, State Forester, State Parks, was unable to attend the meeting but is interested in participating. Taylor Norton, AWG, reported the AWG and State Parks will host an Earth Day Celebration at Grover Hot Springs on Saturday, April 20, 8-12:30. More information is available here and here.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday May 7th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. It will be another planning meeting involving all the agencies that have past, present and future projects which improve forest or watershed health, and which reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires in Alpine County. Members of the public that are concerned with the risk of catastrophic wildfire to their homes and communities are encouraged to participate.
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