Sequoia National Forest restoring Rough Fire area with Partners

Release Date: Jul 29, 2022

Contact(s): Alicia Embrey

Contractors have begun implementing about 1,340 acres of the approximately 4,900-acre Rough Plantation Maintenance and Restoration project. The contracts are in partnership with Great Basin Institute and American Forests, with whom Sequoia National Forest has stewardship agreements to increase the pace and scale of restoration.

The 2015 Rough Fire and recent drought led to moderate to substantial tree mortality in several species, specifically ponderosa, Jeffrey, and sugar pine; giant sequoia; white and red fir; and incense cedar. It also led to increased bark beetle activity in the pine and cedar stands and other insect and drought mortality in the white and red fir components. Even the highly stressed giant sequoias, widely known for their resilience to stressors, are being attacked by the incense cedar bark beetle. As a result, several planted stands within the perimeter of the Rough Fire suffered moderate to high mortality and are at risk.

According to Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson, general planning for the Rough Fire Restoration began in 2016 and formal scoping in 2019. The recently initiated USDA Emergency Action to protect giant sequoias will help expedite fuel reduction treatments of this kind. "The accelerated process will help minimize the risk of wildfire threats to giant sequoia groves and reduce the effects of high-severity fire while protecting people, communities, and our lands," Benson stated.

American Forests was awarded a California Climate Investment (CCI) grant to assist Sequoia National Forest personnel in managing and restoring forests. The Sequoia Wildfire Reforestation and Recovery Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the, environment-particularly in disadvantaged communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, sustainable agriculture, recycling, and more. At least 35% of these investments are located within and benefit residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the California Climate Investments website at

Rough Plantation Maintenance and Restoration will improve forest health, wildlife habitat and reduce the potential for fuel build-up in the Mill Flat, Converse, Tornado, and Boulder creeks of the Kings River drainage in Hume Lake Ranger District. Vegetation treatments are in existing plantations and along roadsides where tree mortality from fire, drought, and insects has been extensive or where planted stands are overstocked and at risk from the next drought/insect outbreak. The treatment sites were identified as the highest priority to improve or maintain old forest components of wildlife habitat, forest health, heterogeneity, resiliency, and safe public and administrative access.

Treatment areas also include fuels removal in three Giant Sequoia groves, like those recently approved in the emergency action.  This includes biomass removal and thinning planted stands in Converse Basin sequoia grove, prescribed burning in Cherry Gap sequoia grove, and roadside hazard tree abatement in Evans Grove Complex. Managing these areas will help improve forest health and reduce fuels across the broader approximately 8,100-acre analysis area.

Our partner, Great Basin Institute, is managing a mechanical piling contract on 536 acres of fire-killed plantations to reduce fuels and prepare for planting trees in partnership with American Forests. Both partners are managing a biomass removal and thin project on up to 991 acres. A portion of the biomass removal units will be reforested where there has been little to no natural tree regeneration.

More information on the Rough Plantation Maintenance and Restoration Project can be found online at:

The Great Basin Institute is an interdisciplinary field studies organization that promotes environmental research, education, and service throughout the West. The Institute advances applied science field studies, conservation practices, and community engagement.

American Forests is a national non-profit committed to creating healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that delivers essential benefits for climate, people, water, and wildlife. In the Southern Sierra, American Forests is accomplishing this through the Sequoia Wildfire Reforestation and Recovery Project, a cross-boundary effort that utilizes diverse treatments to restore and reforest 2,600 acres of high-severity landscapes, including the Rough Fire.

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