Forest Service approves Upper Echo Lakes Fuels Reduction project

A tree thinning and fuels reduction project on about 100 acres in the Upper Echo Lakes area and portions of a roadless area could begin this year, according to a decision by the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

The project would take up to six years to complete and includes the removal of trees up to 16 inches in diameter, which would be collected, put into piles and either burned or made available for firewood. There is a possibility of brief closures of areas adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail, according to the Forest Service.

The public has 45 days to appeal the project, which would be paid for with Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act act money as part of its Environmental Improvement Project. Information about the project can be made by calling Brian Garrett at (530) 543-2694. At the bottom of this story is the decision memo or for more about the history of the project, go here.

Here is a Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit news release issued today:

Forest Service issues decision on Upper Echo Lakes Fuel Reduction
Work could begin this summer
South Lake Tahoe, Calif. --The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit released the decision for the fuels reduction project at Upper Echo Lakes. 

The project includes tree thinning and surface fuels reduction that is intended to reduce the risk of wildfire and improve firefighting effectiveness.

The project area is located on National Forest System lands within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) on approximately 100 acres at Upper Echo Lakes in El Dorado County, California, with a portion of the project in the Pyramid Roadless area.  Brief closures of areas adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail are possible. This would ensure public safety while the project is implemented.  In addition, resource protection measures are included in the project design to maintain the scenic nature of the trail.

The proposed treatments would establish a defense zone around seasonal residence cabins and outbuildings, allowing firefighters to carry out effective fire suppression activities, in the event of a wildfire.  Cabin owners would retain the responsibility to maintain their defensible space improvements.

Fuel reduction work would consist of cutting and hand piling brush and conifer trees up to 16” in diameter.  Vegetation would be cut by hand, with chainsaws or other hand tools.  Piles would then be burned approximately one to three years later, once the fuels are dry and weather conditions allow for prescribed burning.  Larger thinned trees would be made available for fuelwood.

Work would begin as early as the summer of 2013 and might take up to six years to complete, depending on funding and availability of burn days.

The project, funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act as part of the Environmental Improvement Program, now enters a 45-day decision appeal period.

For more information about the project, contact Brian Garrett at (530) 543-2694 or go here.


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