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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 31, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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October 31, 2012
 

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6B Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter CHIPS, from page 1B This mosaic of fire intensities shows a mixture of low, medium burning through more than 75,000 acres of forest, the Chips Fire vegetation within it. and high severity. Despite The beauty of Butt Lake did not severely impact all remains intact, with only a low impact from the Chips Fire. has much flatter ground. According to Ford, Forest Service Chief Thomas Tid- well told PNF officials he wanted them to be as aggressive as possible with the restoration. "We want people in the field by December," said Ford. "The longer we wait, the more value we lose." A team has been assembled to assess what areas of the forest need to be addressed before winter. The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has already started its assessment, which consists of land treatments (weed and archaeology site protection), road/trail treatments (storm-proofing, stream crossings and trail stabilization), protection/safety treatments (signs, hazard tree felling, storm patrol and response) and monitoring. "We have decided which trees are coming down and have marked the areas with a blue ribbon. We have to fol- low specific guidelines to do this logically. "We will identify what trees will die and which ones will green back up. If the support of the tree is compro- mised, it will be marked for removal," said Ford. The next stop was made past Ohio Valley, to Clear Creek. The purpose of this stop was to view examples of some high-severity burn. Unlike the previous stop, the entire area consisted of completely torched vegetation. The grounds were covered in ash and only a few patches of life could be seen throughout the area. There were many Pacific Gas and Electric Co. lines that had trees burn up next to them. PG&E has permission to remove those trees without speaking to the Forest Service first. Donald explained that some areas in the forest are PG&E's responsibility to maintain. He said those areas would be identified and PG&E would be held accountable for removing the wood. "We compel PG&E to buy it, and in turn, they will try to sell it," said Donald. "We want to get this timber out as fast as we can," said Joe Smailes, an ecosystems operations team leader with the Plumas National Forest. He explained that the Forest Service's first priority is to remove completely dead trees and to pick Up roadside haz- ards. If trees are alive but Forest Service personnel think they will die, they will be removed. Their plan is "mark, fall, sale. Bam, bam, bam." They will be focusing on main roads and trees that are likely to hit the roads. The minimum size of trees cut will be 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Trees that are cut but not sold will be left in place for the public to use. Biomass Will be removed and taken to the closest cogen- eration facility to be converted into electricity. Prior to the tour, Plumas and Lassen officials got togeth- er to discuss the best way to tackle the restoration. According to Donald, it was decided that they would County Republican n Election Day is Tuesday, November 6, 2012 7am to 8pm Mitt Romney- President Paul Ryan - Vice President Elizabeth Emken - U.S. Senate Doug La Malfa - U.S. Congress, District 1 Ted Gaines - State Senate, District l Brian Dahle or Rick Bosetti - State Assembly, District 1 State Ballot Initiatives NO on Prop 30 Stop the tax hike on all Californians YES on Prop 31 Bring Accountability and transparency to California government YES Mak YES :h you NO YES Stren Three Strikes NOon Join scheme NO on Prop Stop the trial lawyers' dollar tax increase on Californians NO on Prop 38 Another multi-billion NO on Prop 39 Billions in new taxes on businesses will mean thousands of lost jobs accountable and save taxpayer dollars YES on Prop 40 Hold politicians opportunity for Colin Dillingham, ecologist, to share in- formation on the wildlife in the forest. He was very positive that the highly burned areas would actually benefit the animal life in the forest. "A lot of species move into these high burnt areas," Dillingham said. The rare black-backed woodpecker will likely be migrat- ing to the areas devastated by the fire. According to Dillingham, they prefer nesting in the highly burned ar- eas. "I foresee an increase in wildlife because of the fire. It is a fantastic forage area," he said. Ford said that some steep, high-severity areas won't be treated. "It is not economically viable to treat those ar- eas." According to Dillingham, these areas will be left as habitat areas. "Little patches of high-severity burn also make good hunting grounds for owls," said Dillingham. Some of the areas affected by the fire contain protected activity centers for spotted owls. Out of 23 centers, only three were lost during the fire. The Moonlight Fire, how- ever, damaged 22 out of 23. The las stop was made at Butt Lake. Contrary to popu- lar belief, this area is still very much intact. The burn was very minimal. After spending the afternoon on the lake, and enjoying the fall scenery, guests had the opportunity to give sug- gestions to the Forest Service. tackle the easiest "hanging All 27 in attendance had the opportunity tO s peak. fruits" first and then follow a Rather than suggestions, the consensus was tl at the For- four-tiered plan on how to est complete the salvage. "We Service seemed to have a good grip on things, and that the will look at the cost and time community needed to be more informed on the fact that ratio, and decide what'we can the forest is still intact -- not everything is burned. get done with the resources One person in attendance asked how the public Could we have." be certain the Forest Service is in fact doing what it says The next stop was alongit will be doing. Ford decided updates would be placed on Bear River Road. This area the Plumas National Forest website for every step they showed a "mosaic" burn pat- take. tern, where one tree might be "We need to make sure we treat this land aggressively, severely burnt but the one knowing we do not want to come back 10 to 15 years from right next to it was hardly now and have to do this all over," said Ford. touched. A suggestion form has been added to Plumas National Ford explained that most Forest website so residents can tell the Forest Service of the burn areas looked like what their priorities are for the Chips Fire restoration. this, and reiterated that only To submit priorities visit fs.usda.gov/plumas. a small portion was torched Under "Features" click "Read on" in the Chips Fire beyond usability. 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