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Prescribed burn begins in nat’l monument

Prescribed burn begins in nat’l monument

On April 22, Acting District Ranger Sarah LaPlante made a decision on the Boulder Creek Fuels Restoration Project to conduct prescribed burning in the Boulder Creek area in the northern portion of Giant Sequoia National Monument, on the Hume Lake Ranger District, located about fifty miles east of Fresno. “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Earth Day than with this expanded-scale restoration project,” stated LaPlante. This decision follows the Giant Sequoia National Monument Plan direction.

The project area includes portions of the Monarch Wilderness, Agnew Inventoried Roadless Area, and three giant sequoia groves (Agnew, Deer Meadow, and the Evans Complex).  Much of this area has missed the last five fire return intervals, 100+ years of fire exclusion.  The topography is steep and inaccessible with moderate to heavy fuels.

“If a wildfire were to occur in this area, it has the potential to be a large stand-replacing event,” stated LaPlante. “To lessen the chances of this happening, the Forest Service plans to reintroduce fire into the major drainage with the use of prescribed fires and managed wildfires when and where appropriate.”

The project area is approximately 14,385 acres, with 6,000 to 9,000 acres to be treated with prescribed fire.  These acres will be divided into several sections, and will be burned when fuels and weather will limit the active fire duration to approximately one to two weeks.  Initially, approximately 400 acres may be burned as early as June, 2013. The project will continue in the fall of 2013, with larger blocks of land to be under-burned. Overall, this project may take five years to complete due to limited burning times when weather and smoke dispersal are acceptable.

No mechanical treatments or removal of logs or other forest products are planned.  However, hand treatments, including chainsaw use outside of the wilderness, to cut brush or fell trees will likely be needed during project implementation to protect firefighters, and protect some of the objects of interest.

This decision is now subject to administrative review (appeal) pursuant to 36 CFR Part 215.  The appeal must be filed (regular mail, fax, e-mail, hand-delivery, or express delivery) with the Appeal Deciding Officer: Kevin B. Elliott, Forest Supervisor, Sequoia National Forest, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville CA 93257.  Appeals must be filed within 45 days from the publication date of the legal notice.

For more information on how to appeal and the timeframe, please contact Marianne Emmendorfer, District Planner, (559) 338-2251.  Copies are also available upon request.  You can find the documents on the Sequoia National Forest website at:http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/sequoia/landmanagement/projects.

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