Lassen Fire Safe Council awarded $10 million for two CCI Cal Fire forest health grants

The Cal Fire California Climate Investments Forest Health program has awarded just under $10 million dollars to Lassen Fire Safe Council, Inc. for two projects: The Hog and Sheep Fire Reforestation project in Lassen County ($4,999,855), and; the Whitmore Forest and Watershed Restoration Project (in Shasta County ($4,999,855).

The HSFR project is partnered with WM Beaty and Associates and other private landowners in an effort to reforest lands that were burned in the 2020 Hog and Sheep Fires. A total of 5,567 acres will have site preparation of burnt tree removal with follow-up herbicide treatment for planting. After purchase of native seed and seedlings of diverse species and aged cultures, planting will take place on 13,295 acres.

Reforestation of the burn scars will restore ecological function and prevent hazardous fuel regrowth, reburn, and high-risk erosion to downstream users. LFSC has another $5.25 million dollar reforestation grant request under review with the Federal Emergency Management Agency that would provide additional funds for reforestation in the footprint of the Hog and Sheep Fires.                   “Lassen Fire Safe Council is excited to have the opportunity to work with landowners to reforest their lands after the devastating impact that these fires have had on the forests in the greater Susanville area,” said Katlyn Lonergan, LFSC Programs Director.

The Whitmore project was developed under a Memo of Understanding that was entered into between LFSC and the newly established Shasta County Fire Safe Council in the summer of 2020. LFSC is providing mentorship in how to develop and implement large landscape scale fuel treatments and for SCFSC to provide leadership in the Shasta County Community Wildfire Protection Plan process. Supervisor Mary Rickert was instrumental in bringing LFSC and SCFSC together through her long-standing involvement in LFSC’s Day Lassen Bench work that includes the Northeast corner of Shasta County.

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“I very much appreciate the efforts and collaboration of the Fire Safe Councils and congratulate them on getting their first landscape scale project funded; they are off to a great start “, said Rickert, a former member for the California Board of Forestry.

The WFWRP project will thin overly dense stands for biomass and masticate thick, flammable, understory vegetation south and east of the town of Whitmore. Strategic treatment areas were identified, in partnership with Whitmore Fire Safe Council, based on winds and past fire behavior, to minimize wildfire threat to the community through restoration of forest health and resilience. The project will protect upper watersheds of California’s water supply, promote long-term carbon storage in forests, and minimize carbon loss from future wildfires.

“The need for forest management initiatives like this is immediate. We plan to make this the first of many efforts to protect the citizens, property, and natural resources of Shasta County from the effects of catastrophic wildland fires,” said Dr. Richard Sealana, Chair, SCFSC

“Over the past three years LFSC has averaged 9,000 acres of treatments annually,” said LFSC Chair Lloyd Keefer. “With these funds, and others hoped to be awarded in the near future, LFSC is well positioned to continue and increase the pace and scale of critical fuel reduction and forest restoration projects that help protect northern California communities.”

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California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. The California Climate Investments cap-and-trade program creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.

For information on Shasta County Fire Council, contact Dr. Richard Sealana at (510) 207-9264 or [email protected]

For information on Whitmore Fire Safe Council, contact Tania Greenwood at (530) 472-3216 or [email protected]