Klamath National Forest Westside Fire Recovery Project

Westside Fire Recovery Project documents

Klamath National Forest Issues Decision for Westside Fire Recovery Project


Cover page for the Westside Fire Recovery Project Record of Decision

On Monday, February 29, Forest Supervisor Patricia Grantham signed a decision for the Westside Fire Recovery Project on the Klamath National Forest.  The Westside Fire Recovery Project proposed a variety of landscape treatments in response to the impacts to over 187,000 acres of National Forest land that burned during the large wildfires of 2014.  The Westside project includes the areas that burned within the Beaver Fire, Happy Camp Complex, and the Whites Fire.  Communities directly affected by these fires included Happy Camp, Seiad Valley, Horse Creek, Hamburg, Klamath River, Scott Bar, Sawyers Bar, Quartz Valley, Etna, and Fort Jones, as well as numerous outlying residential enclaves.

 

The February 29 decision includes 5,570 acres of salvage harvest, 12,700 acres of tree planting, 320 miles of roadside hazard treatment, and 24,450 acres of hazardous fuels reduction, including 11,180 acres of prescribed burn.  Planned salvage harvest, roadside hazard treatment and hazardous fuels reduction have been strategically located on the landscape and are designed to work in tandem in order to provide increased community protection and to reduce the damaging effects of future high intensity wildfire.

"My decision on the Westside Project is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and thought brought forward by the public, interest groups, tribes, other agencies, elected officials, collaborative groups, and Westside project team professionals," commented Grantham.  "With this decision, we have the ability to reduce fire-created threats to the public, Forest workers, neighboring landowners and important infrastructure.  We have the ability to keep important access open and build fire breaks and reduce dead fuels in strategic areas to reduce threats from future wildfire.  We have the ability to replant severely burned areas to recover the Forest as quickly as possible.  I am proud of the work that went into this decision and look forward to implementing it as soon as possible."

The Westside decision follows the July 2015 release of the Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project.  During preparation of the FEIS, more than 13,000 comments were received on the project.  Recent regulatory approvals allowed for the current decision to move forward.

The Record of Decision, and other project documents, can be viewed on the internet at http://fs.usda.gov/goto/klamath/westside.  It is also available at the Klamath National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Yreka, the Yreka public library, and at the Forest Service Ranger District offices in Happy Camp and Fort Jones.

Background:

Cover page of the 2014 Klamath National Forest Fire Season Review

Severe drought and exceptionally dry fuel conditions made the 2014 fire season one of the most impacting in the history of the Klamath National Forest.

Fires within the Happy Camp Complex were ignited by lightning near the town of Happy Camp, California.  Hot, dry and windy conditions caused three of the original 19 fires to escape containment, burn actively for several weeks, and eventually grow together and spread south along the Scott River and into the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

The Beaver Fire occurred on the north side of the Klamath River about 30 miles east of Happy Camp, and eventually consumed approximately 32,400 acres.

Comprised of the Log and Whites Fires, the July Complex, burned approximately 37,000 acres of both private and Forest Service lands southeast of Fort Jones, California eventually spreading into the Marble Mountain Wilderness and into the drainage of the North Fork of the Salmon River.

The Beaver Fire, Happy Camp Complex, and Whites Fire burned a total of 183,100 acres, including 162,300 acres of National Forest System lands and 20,800 acres of private land.


The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

For decades, environmental neglect had significantly degraded the nation's landscape and damaged the human environment. In order to foster and promote the general welfare of the environment, create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can harmoniously co-exist and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1970.

To find out more about NEPA click here.

Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ

Established by Congress as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is within the Executive Office of the President. CEQ coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices to develop environmental policies and initiatives. CEQ's Chair serves as the principal environmental policy adviser to the President, working to advance the President’s environment, natural resources and energy priorities.

To learn more about CEQ click here.





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