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CALIFORNIA

CLIMATE

INVESTMENTS

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WUI Updates

Dana Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Reduction Project: planning phase

The goal of the proposed 3,550 acre Dana WUI project is to create a fire-safe wildland urban interface in the Dana area, located adjacent to Soldier Mountain in the Fall River Valley. Local forestry experts will need to perform a comprehensive site assessment in order to accurately prescribe treatments. Landowners located within the proposed project boundary and who would like to have their property treated can fill out the online project questionnaire and submit a signed Landowner Agreement form to the Fall River RCD.

Big Bend Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Reduction Project: planning phase

To help firefighter ingress and egress in the event of potential wildfires, a large scale fuelbreak project is being planned by the RCD in collaboration with the Big Bend Community Land Trust, for treatment on numerous roads in and around the Big Bend region north of Montgomery Creek. Roads planned to receive the 300 feet wide fuelbreak include: Hagen Flat Road, Mud Springs Road, Cove Road, Jacks Lane, Sleepy Creek Road, Bootleg Lane and a portion of CA State Hwy 299E. Treatments will likely include mastication, biomass and herbicide application.

Big Eddy Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Reduction Project:
in progress

The intent of the Big Eddy WUI project is to reduce surface and ladder fuel loads at a landscape-level near homes within the community of the Big Eddy Estates south of Fall River Mills. Nearly seventy private small landowners responded with interest in participating in this project, resulting in a proposed 500+ acre fuels reduction treatment. Anticipated treatments are: hand thin and chip, mastication, and herbicide application. Implementation is expected to begin in the summer of 2023.

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Project Updates

FUEL
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Bald & Eiler: In Progress

The Bald Fire left a 39,736 acre footprint in the Hat Creek Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest in 2014.

Previous reforestation efforts had low seedling survival. However, in 2021, an Environmental Assessment (EA) was approved to allow the use of herbicide on the Bald and Eiler Fires to increase reforestation success. The Eiler fire left a 32,416 acre footprint in the Hat Creek Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest in 2014.  Woody brush – especially snowbrush – rapidly established post-fire, creating a challenge for reforestation efforts.
Site prep techniques, including mastication and strategic herbicide use is now being implemented to promote seedling survival on both the Bald and Eiler Fire footprints.

Manzanita Chutes: In Progress

Manzanita Chutes, a project near Eskimo Hill, is a part of the North 49 Forest Health Recovery Project located within the Hat Creek Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest. Consisting of predominantly pine plantation units planted between 1950 and 1970, the intent of this project is to increase forest health and vigor and reduce fire hazards. Multiple treatments, including mastication and biomass are ongoing.

Tamarack fuel break: Complete

The Tamarack Road runs through multiple ownerships from Burney to Whitmore. A 300-foot-wide fuel break was completed along 25 miles of the Tamarack south of Burney in 2022 in order to help facilitate firefighter access in the event of a wildfire. Treatments included biomass and mastication.

Backbone Planning project: 
In Progress

While originally a larger Forest Service project initiated in 2005, the USFS partnered with the RCD to treat approximately 3,680 acres in 2019. The Backbone project is located near Jack’s Backbone, within the Hat Creek Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest. Anticipated treatments are: mechanical
thinning, pre commercial thinning, biomass, mastication and hand thinning. Wildlife concerns have remained a challenging obstacle for implementation efforts, but the NEPA process is continually moving forward.

Jackrabbit Forest Health project: Complete

The Jackrabbit Flat Project, a large-scale thinning and mastication project around the community of
Burney, was completed in early 2023. Multiple ownerships were masticated or biomassed, resulting in
an overall healthier forest and reduced fuels around Burney.

Whittington Forest Health project: in progress

The Whittington Forest Health Restoration Project is a biomass and mastication project in the Hat Creek
Ranger District of the Lassen National Forest. Originally part of the larger Backbone Project, 500 acres
are planned to be masticated, while 200 acres are planned to be treated with biomass.

Crossroads Forest Health Project: In Progress

Encompassing approximately 2,646 acres of National Forest Systems (NFS) land, the Crossroads project was proposed to increase fire resiliency as well as to reduce insect mortality and fuel levels. The RCD, in collaboration with the Burney-Hat Creek Community Forest and Watershed Group and the USFS Hat Creek Ranger District, are treating the area with mechanical thinning. Future fuels reduction efforts are planned. 

Education: Complete

A partnership with Shasta College – involving heavy equipment logging operations and commercial drivers’ licensing – was successfully completed. The program at Shasta college is still ongoing, but the
RCD’s association with it is concluded.

Community Wildfire Protection Plan: complete

In 2022, the RCD facilitated funding for the establishment of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan
(Endorsed by Shasta County Board of Supervisors, Soldier Mtn. Volunteer Fire Company, Fall River Valley
Fire Department, Applegate Field Office Bureau of land Management, CAL Fire, Shasta County Fire and
the Hat Creek Ranger District, LNF). The Fall River Valley Firesafe Council was instrumental in forming
the CWPP

Project Map

RATIONALE

The USFS and RCD have identified multiple restoration opportunities on public and private lands to increase forest resilience, accelerate reforestation of severely burned forests, and reduce the risk of future catastrophic fire impacts to both communities and natural resources. Forest thinning through the diameter class and other fuel treatments (e.g. mastication, prescribed fire) would be used to reduce forest biomass and surface fuels in order to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire. This reduction would help to protect tree-based carbon stocks, improve growth rates and carbon uptake of residual trees, and minimize  greenhouse gas released in the instance of wildfire.

 

Reducing forest density and surface fuels are a key step towards building a resilient landscape. Thinning prescriptions were designed to restore forest structure and facilitate the widespread use of prescribed fire by removing biomass, reducing stand densities, and shifting species composition towards more drought- and fire-tolerant species. Thinning treatments would reduce inter-tree competition from limited water and nutrients, thereby reducing the risk of insect and disease-caused mortality and GHG emissions from dead and decaying trees. 

 

Prescribed under burning would be used to maintain the benefits of widespread thinning and to begin restoring fire as a process in forests throughout the project area. Prescribed burning would reduce surface and maintain the reduction in ladder fuels by reducing understory shrubs, small trees, and raising the live crown heights of residual larger diameter trees. As a result, fuel ignitability, ignition of tree crowns, rate of fire spread, and fire duration and intensity would be reduced. Creating favorable stand conditions across the landscape at scale would reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and associated adverse effects to air and water quality. If fires occur on the landscape, fire size and severity could be reduced, resulting in less GHG emissions when compared to fires that occur if forests are not treated. 

  

There are three local biomass facilities near the project area. Chips generated from the proposed projects would be utilized by local biomass facilities to generate energy and offset fossil fuel consumption. Controlled combustion results in demonstrated reduction not only of CO2 but of other GHGs (CH4, and CO) produced by incomplete combustion during in-woods burning. In addition, implementation of this project will enhance and create employment opportunities for local facilities, their employees, and the local businesses they utilize on a regular basis.

 

Several large fires recently occurred throughout the project leaving uncharacteristically large patches deforested. Planting treatments would be used to accelerate forested conditions across the landscape. Planting would favor fire tolerant species at wider spacing conducive to individual tree growth and reduced future fire risk as the plantation develops.  As trees grow, carbon would be sequestered, resulting in increased tree-based carbon storage through time, particularly when compared with carbon sequestered of shrub fields or partial natural regeneration.

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Funding for this project provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of the

California Climate Investments Program

CAL FIRE's Forest Health Grant Program awards Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds allocated by the legislature for California Climate Investments (CCI) to implement projects that seek to proactively restore forest health and conserve working forests, protect upper watersheds where the state's water supply originates, promote the long-term storage of carbon in forest trees and soils, and minimize the loss of forest carbon from large, intense wildfires.

 

The Lower Pit River Fire Prevention Project is part of the California Climate Investments Program, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-andTrade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment - particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments Projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling and much more. At least thirty-five percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov

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