DOWNIEVILLE, Calif. – The Yuba River Ranger District recently completed thinning and hand-piling of forest fuels for the Red Ant Thinning and Fuels Reduction Project. The 550-acre project, which will help prevent wildfires in the Downieville/Goodyears Bar area, now moves into the next phase involving prescribed burns.
The purpose of the Project is to enhance forest and watershed health and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce the risk of extreme fire behavior within and adjacent to the wildland urban intermix zones (WUIs).
Started in 2007, the Project began with timber harvesting—4.9 million board feet of timber was removed. More recently, crews hand-cut and hand-piled vegetation to reduce “ladder fuels,” which allow fire to move from the ground up into the tree canopy.
The next phase of the Project involves prescribed burns, including understory burns and pile burning, in the units that have been harvested and thinned. This maintenance phase of the Project will limit the build-up of ground fuels to help reduce wildfire risk in the area. Prescribed burning operations will begin as soon as conditions permit.
“Understory and pile burning activities are a critical part of this project. Our first priority is public and firefighter safety, so these operations will only take place when air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, and fuel moisture are appropriate,” said District Ranger Karen Hayden. “The Red Ant Thinning and Fuels Reduction Project is one of the ways we’re reducing the threat of wildfires to Downieville and other communities within the Tahoe National Forest.”
Forest Service fire managers work closely with air quality management districts to minimize smoke impacts to communities during prescribed burn operations.
For more information on the Project, please contact Mark Longshore at (530) 288-3231.
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