By Susan A. Neufeld
San Bernardino, CA – San Bernardino National Forest officials today released a proposal to treat over 1,000 acres of land west of Lake Arrowhead. The area burned in the 2007 Grass Valley Fire, which destroyed around 175 homes during a high wind event. The fire occurred in mixed conifer and chaparral vegetation types. Since then, much of the burn area has regrown with thick tall shrubs. Those conditions have compounded fire threat to the adjacent residential communities.
The Proposal, officially referred to as an environmental assessment, seeks to thin shrubs and smaller trees in order to reduce fire threats. The proposal also includes removal of non-native invasive plants and repair of roads and trails within the project area. Methods would include mechanical treatments and repair of roads and trails within the project area, as well as prescribed fire and hand work. The full document can be read at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=43428.
“This ecological restoration project doubles as a community defense one” said Mountaintop District Ranger Marc Stamer. “By thinning the forest to more natural conditions, the spread of any future fires may be slowed, and also allow fire crews to be safely placed between homes and national forest lands.”
Low-intensity, lightning-caused fire is natural to the area’s ecosystem, but due to the proximity to communities, some San Bernardino National Forest lands need to be proactively managed. Over time, the project area would need periodic maintenance to maintain desired conditions.
The Forest Service is seeking comments about the environmental analysis. Comments can be submitted via the web at.http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=43428. They must be received by April 30, 2018.