District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge of the Mammoth Ranger District, Inyo National Forest, has made a decision to implement Alternative 2 (Proposed Action with a minor modification) for the Reds Meadow Valley Wind-Fallen Tree Removal Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project, as described in the Environmental Assessment, or EA. Fuels reduction work will occur in close proximity to recreation developments in the Reds Meadow Valley. The purpose of this project is to reduce the amount of surface fuels so the potential for a high severity wildfire is decreased and wildfire defensible space is created around recreation developments. These recreation developments include areas around Reds Meadow Resort and Pack Station, the National Park Service Ranger Station at Devils Postpile, and Forest Service campgrounds. The project was planned under the authorities outlined in the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003.
The project will implement fuels reduction treatments on approximately 220 acres managed by the Inyo National Forest. The fuels reduction work will include removal of wind-fallen trees, and disposal of slash by piling and burning, chipping and/or prescribed burning isolated patches where slash occurs in dense concentrations, commonly called jackpot burning. The one minor modification to Alternative 2 will allow the option of tree removal using a helicopter in lieu of cable yarding in treatment areas with slopes steeper than 30 percent. This modification will provide for more effective fuels reduction treatment in steep areas, due to practical limitations on using cable yarding to remove down trees in these areas.
Implementation of the project will begin as soon as practical, likely during late summer and fall of 2012. Fuels reduction work will continue over the next 1 to 2 years, until the project is completed.