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Inyo asks for comments on dead tree removal

March 2, 2012

The Inyo National Forest, Mammoth Ranger District, is soliciting comments on a proposed project to remove wind-fallen trees from Reds Meadow Valley.

On Nov. 30 of last year, an extreme wind event caused large numbers of trees to be blown down in the Reds Meadow Valley. 
 
The Inyo National Forest is proposing to remove wind-fallen trees on approximately 220 acres where severe wind damage occurred.
 
A half-mile of temporary roads would be constructed to access proposed treatment areas. Slash would be removed by chipping and hauling, piling burning and/or burning areas of concentrated slash, known as jackpot burning. 
 
All proposed tree removal is located on Inyo National Forest lands outside of the adjacent Ansel Adams Wilderness.
 
The purpose of this project is to reduce the potential for future high intensity wildfire and to move toward establishment of wildfire defensible space within the so-called wildland-urban interface (WUI) zone. 
 
The 220 acres affected by severe wind damage are located within the WUI zone surrounding Forest Service and Park Service administrative facilities, a resort and pack stations, and other recreation developments.
 
On the 220 acres, the majority of trees have been uprooted, leaving a dense tangle of down trees. The depth and density of down trees constitutes an extremely high concentration of ground fuel.
Such heavy ground fuels create conditions where wildfires can move quickly through the needles and limbs, with a very high rate of fire spread and flame lengths up to 25 feet.
 
The proposed actions are needed to reduce the hazardous fuel load created by this dense concentration of down trees within the WUI zone.
 
 The need for fuels reduction treatment is made more important due to the limited travel access into the area. 
 
There is only one point of access into Reds Meadow Valley, which is a single lane road with turnouts along the steep, upper three miles of the route. 
 
If you have information you feel the Forest Service may not be aware of, or you have issues regarding potential effects of this proposal, please mail these in writing to the Project Leader, Sue Farley at: Mammoth Ranger District, Inyo National Forest, P.O. Box 148, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Comments may also be submitted by fax 760-924-5537 or by hand-delivery to the Mammoth Ranger District office, during normal business hours (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).  
 
Electronic comments may be submitted via the Inyo National Forest website at http://1.usa.gov/zbNLiM.
 
All comments must be received by March 23.

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