Prescribed Fire for Landowners

Our next meeting will be at 6:00 pm on Tuesday August 2nd at Turtle Rock Park.  Susie Kocher, a Forestry Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, will be presenting the history of prescribed fires on private lands, the practical aspects of implementing burns on private lands, and the role of prescribed burn associations in helping landowners learn how to burn their own property.  She will also be giving a workshop on the same subject.  Information on the workshop is available here.

Biography:  Susie Kocher is an extension forester for the University of California Cooperative Extension in the Central Sierra.  She is directing two current initiatives – hosting forest stewardship education workshops for private forest landowners across the state and conducting prescribed fire education in the Central Sierra.  She is starting a new post-fire outreach and education program with funding from the US Forest Service.  She is a member of the Small Landowner Assistance work group of the Governor’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force and a registered professional forester.

Possible Forest Service Change:  Eastern Alpine County has been in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest (HT), and before that the Toiyabe National Forest forever.  The HT is part of the Forest Service’s Region 4, while their Region 5 covers almost all Forest Service lands in California. 

In the past this hasn’t mattered much, but in the last few years Region 5 has been working closely with California with regard to improving forest health and resilience.  Region 5 has been aggressively pursuing funding from California for fuels reduction, facility upgrades, and sustainable recreation projects among other things.  National Forests in California such as the Inyo, Eldorado, Stanislaus, and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit work much more closely with the local communities than we have seen from the HT.  In fairness to the HT, things have improved somewhat under the current District Ranger.

The Regional Foresters from Regions 4 and 5 have agreed to consider a boundary adjustment that would move eastern Alpine County from Region 4 to Region 5, probably as part of the Eldorado National Forest.  It is up to us as a community to decide whether we want to pursue this or not.  The Forest Service has asked that we make up our minds by the early fall.

Ban Biomass Initiative:  A committee, separate from the Alpine Biomass Collaborative, has been formed to oppose the initiative.  More information will be shared as it comes available.

Miscellaneous:  The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California has finalized an agreement with Tahoe Forest Products to operate a sawmill at the Tribe’s Lower Clear Creek property near Carson City.  This will be a huge help in improving the economics of forest thinning projects in the region.  More information is available here.  Congratulations to the Tribe and Tahoe Forest Products for putting this together.

Future Meetings:  Our September meeting will feature Dr. Malcolm North of the Pacific Southwest Research Center on what a resilient forest is under current and an anticipated warmer and drier future climate, why it is important, and what needs to be done so that our forests are resilient now and in the future.  Those that are wondering why the new sawmill near Carson City is so important, or why a potential biomass facility in Alpine County is needed will get some of their doubts addressed.  Please send suggestions for future speakers to  Presentations need to be on topics that relate to our mission statement.

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