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South Shore Fuels Reduction Project moves forward


usfs-logo-282x300-9616122-8581133South Lake Tahoe, Calif. –The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has begun work on the South Shore Fuel Reduction and Healthy Forest Restoration Project that will thin trees and brush on more than 10,000 acres of national forest system land from Cascade Lake to the Nevada state line.  Crews are currently working on Hwy. 89 near Camp Richardson and will move to areas including but not limited to the Osgood Swamp area near Nez Perce Drive and the area southeast of the Sierra Tract near Barbara Avenue in August or September.

Crews will accomplish as much acreage as possible during this first round of the project with operations proceeding as conditions allow.  “We have a limited operating season, so we’re not able to treat all 10,000 acres at once” said forester Duncan Leao,  “The units we chose give us the flexibility to move around the various areas of the project in order to get work done as quickly and efficiently as possible.”  Overall thinning and follow-up fuels treatment including prescribed fire may take approximately eight years to complete.

The work includes thinning by crews with chainsaws (hand thinning), mechanical thinning  which cuts the tree down, removes the limbs and cuts the tree into sections in the cutting area (cut-to-length), and tree removal that involves cutting the tree down and moving it to the landing area for processing (whole tree removal).  Hand and cut-to-length thinning may involve piling the limbs for burning at a later time or masticating them at the cutting site, while whole tree removal primarily consists of transporting the entire tree, including the limbs, to the landing area where the logs are hauled away and the limbs chipped or burned later.

The Camp Richardson area will receive mechanical and hand thin treatments, the Osgood Swamp area will be hand and mechanically thinned and the area off of the Sierra Tract will receive a combination of whole tree and cut-to-length mechanical treatments.  During operations, considerable resource protection measures for wildlife, sensitive plants, soil and water quality will be in place.

The public can expect to see extensive activity in these areas including heavy equipment working, trucks hauling material, and slash piles.  Treated areas are expected to visually recover in only a few years.  “Forest Health will benefit from this type of large scale treatment and it will reduce the risk of large and severe wildfire in the coming years due to increased defensible space on National Forest System lands and reduced fuel loading” said Forest Supervisor, Nancy Gibson.  “Recent thinning and fuels treatment near the Roundhill Pines area provides a good example of what a healthy forest should look like.”

For public safety, temporary forest closures will be necessary due to falling trees, heavy equipment and contractor limited line of sight.  The temporary closures will be posted on our website athttp://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/ForestOrders.  In addition, temporary disturbances in Forest Service trail systems may take place.  After the project work is complete, system trails will be returned to normal.

For detailed project information including a map of treatment areas, visithttp://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/SouthShoreFuelReduction.

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