A draft environmental assessment on a forest-wide prescribed fire project has been released for public comment by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
“The purpose of this project is to increase the pace and scale of prescribed burning on lands within the Forest’s 6.2 million acres of National Forest System lands in Nevada and a small portion of eastern California,” officials said on Wednesday.
The public will have 30 days to comment on the draft after its publication.
Prescribed burns have been underway all along the Sierra Front over the past two weeks since the big storms.
“This draft assessment was prepared after reviewing public comments from initial scoping in November of 2020,” said Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger. “These comments were used to improve the proposed action that would allow the Forest to conduct prescribed burns over the next several years in specific areas and burn units that could range from approximately 500 to 10,000 acres in size.”
Prescribed fire uses carefully planned burning purposefully set under stringent conditions to control the fire’s effects while meeting multiple objectives. These burns would be conducted within established guidelines, law, regulations, policy, and be consistent with the Humboldt and Toiyabe Land and Resource Management Plans.
“Currently, parts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest have departed from their historic fire regime and are more susceptible to negative effects from insect infestations, disease, and wildfire,” said Dunkelberger. “Prescribed fire is a critical tool to improve the health of our forests, woodlands, and rangelands across the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.”
Officials said the project will help decrease the threat of high intensity, high-severity wildfires; reduce the risk of insect and disease outbreak; recycle nutrients that increase soil productivity; and improve wildlife habitat.
“The actual amount of burning that would occur is dependent on a variety of factors, including but not limited to funding, weather conditions, resource protection measures, and resources available to accomplish treatments each year,” officials said.
The draft and other project documents are available at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57860.
Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, pdf, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), or Word (.doc). They can be uploaded to the “Comments/Objection on Project” section of the project website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57860 under “Get Connected.” Add “Forest-Wide Prescribed Fire Restoration Project EA” into the subject line.
Written comments must be submitted to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Attn: Forest Fuels and Vegetation Program Manager Duncan Leao, 1200 Franklin Way, Sparks NV, 89431 or faxed to 775-355-5399. For more information on this project, contact Christine Handler, Environmental Coordinator, at email@example.com or 559-920-2188.