News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 424

Horse Mountain Cut and Chip provides jobs to reduce hazardous fuels

The Horse Mountain Cut and Chip project involved treatment of approximately 20 acres of BLM-administered land in the King Range National Conservation Area.

About a dozen workers from Eagle Pass Reforestation worked 11 days to reduce vegetation along a King Peak road, by thinning and chipping hazardous fuels to create a self-maintaining shaded fuel break. Eagle Pass is a minority owned company based in Jacksonville, Oregon. (text continues below)

A man in an orange safety helmet carries a chainsaw toward some underbrush

The project is part of the King Range Fuel Break System, which is designed to limit the spread of wildfire into Shelter Cove, a federally registered “Community-At-Risk.” This project is also part of a larger plan to use fire as a natural land management tool and allow opportunities to re-establish a natural fire regime in the King Range Wilderness Area.

In 2009, the BLM and the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council began coordinating on a fuel break project involving segments of private property and BLM-managed land in the King Range National Conservation Area. Along with connecting the existing fuel break to a major road, the inclusion of the private property into the fuel break system raised the priority level of the project – since contiguous treatment greatly increases the effectiveness of fuel breaks.

The BLM portions of the project were completed in October. Private segments will be treated by the Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Council in 2010, as part of a federally-funded Community Wildfire Assistance grant administered by the California Fire Safe Council. The project is a good example of how working with cooperators to achieve a common goal can result in effective hazard fuel mitigation treatments across ownership boundaries.

A man in a red safety helmet, holding a chainsaw, looks aroung trees

An area before treatment ...
Brush covers the ground among trees

... and after:
Area around tress has been cleared of low, dense brush

- Jared Hammatt, fuels specialist, BLM Arcata Field Office


BLM-California News.bytes, issue 424