Collaborative Project Set To Bring "Good Fire" Back To Klamath Mountains

  • By Bridget Litten, Public Affairs Officer, Six Rivers National Forest
A man and woman shake hands. A group of partners, groups, tribal leadership and Forest Service personnel gather to sign a project agreement, July 27, 2018.

Surrounded by members of the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP), acting Six Rivers National Forest (SRNF) Supervisor Liz Berger signed a decision, July 27, 2018, ensuring the collaborative’s vision of bringing “good fire” back to the Klamath Mountains.

Focusing on reducing heavy fuels buildup around the communities of Orleans, Somes Bar and Ti Bar, and on creating defensible space around private property, the highly anticipated Somes Bar Integrated Fire Management Project (Somes Bar Project) is the first project developed by the WKRP collaborative on the Six Rivers.

Rooted in the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy (Cohesive Strategy), the project is set to demonstrate how prescribed fire restores and maintains resilient ecosystems, communities and economies, and provide for safe and effective management of both planned and unplanned fires.

Project has a Broad Vision

A broader vision of the Somes Bar Project is to restore cultural burning practices for those living along the Klamath River, its tributaries, and other ancestral landscapes. With the entire project within Karuk Aboriginal Territory, a highlight will be the use of traditional ecological knowledge (or TEK) fire blended with emergent restorative fire practices at the landscape scale to ensure resiliency of culturally important Karuk focal species and traditions.

It took all of us working together to make this project a reality.—Nolan Colegrove, district ranger for the SRNF’s Lower Trinity, Orleans and Ukonom ranger districts.

Along with the SRNF, members of the WKRP collaborative include the Karuk Tribe, Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC), Klamath National Forest, area fire safe councils, non-governmental organizations, and community-based stakeholders.

The WKRP organized in 2013 to look at ways to restore landscape resiliency to the forests of the Western Klamath Mountains.

In addition to funding already secured for the project, the MKWC received a $5 million grant from CAL FIRE’s California Climate Investments (CCI) Forest Health Grant Program to implement fuels reduction and forest health activities across public and private lands in the Klamath Mountains, including within the Somes Bar Project area.

The Somes Bar Project decision notice, finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and environmental assessment (EA) are available online at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51276.





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