Public Notice Opportunities to Submit Comments on the Dixie Fire Community Protection and Swain Mountain Experimental Forest Vegetation Management Project

Dear Interested Party:

You are receiving this letter to inform you of a Forest Service proposed action and invite you to participate during the public scoping process. The Lassen National Forest is initiating scoping for the Dixie Fire Community Protection and Swain Mountain Experimental Forest Vegetation Management Project. The proposed project is designed to support postfire recovery and restoration in the areas burned by the 2021 Dixie Fire within the wildland urban interface, extended community protection zones, and the Swain Mountain Experimental Forest. The Pacific Southwest Research Station and the Lassen National Forest are proposing to implement a variety of vegetation and fuel treatments designed to maintain or promote desired stand structure, reduce fuel loads, increase resilience of surviving forest stands to future disturbance, and facilitate forest recovery through reforestation and natural regeneration. Management action is intended to reduce the risk of wildfire impacts to communities and critical infrastructure, reduce the potential for future extreme fire behavior, and provide an opportunity to address relevant research objectives in the Swain Mountain Experimental Forest. 

The proposed project is located within the Almanor, Hat Creek, and Eagle Lake ranger districts of the Lassen National Forest within the Dixie Fire perimeter and is concentrated around several community areas across the Lassen National Forest, including Baccala Ranch, Bogart Work Center, Canyondam, Chester, Coon Hollow, Humbug Valley, Old Station, Prattville, Silver Lake, and Warner Valley. The Swain Mountain Experimental Forest and Jennie Springs research area, although not communities at risk, are included in the project area. The proposed project area includes approximately 48,390 acres of National Forest System lands in Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama counties. 

Public involvement is a key element of the land management planning process. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides the framework for public participation in the federal decision-making process. This letter invites your participation during the public scoping process. Public input at this point in the process will help identify issues associated with the project area as well as inform the development of the proposed action. Any comments related to the proposed action (as supported by the purpose and need) for this project are welcome during this scoping period. Please provide comments using one of the methods described at the end of this letter. To be considered timely for objection purposes, and to ensure your comments are fully considered during the scoping phase, please provide your scoping comments by October 18, 2023.

Comments can be submitted electronically to: comments-pacificsouthwest-lassen@usda.gov in a format such as an e-mail message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), or Word (.doc, .docx). Please include “Dixie Fire Community Protection” in the subject line. Written comments may be mailed to: Deb Bumpus, Forest Supervisor, 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130, or faxed to (530) 252-6428. For those submitting hand-delivered comments to the Lassen National Forest at 2550 Riverside Drive, Susanville, CA 96130, business hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for this project, available for public inspection, and released if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

A copy of this letter, description of the proposed action, purpose and need, and project area map are available on the Lassen National Forest’s website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/lassen/?project=63425. The proposed action is also available for review at the Almanor Ranger District Office in Chester, CA. 

The public is invited to attend a virtual meeting to learn more about the project on September 28, 2023, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Information about the meeting, including a meeting link can be found on the project’s webpage provided above. The meeting can also be attended in person at the Almanor Ranger District, 900 E. Hwy 36, Chester, CA 96020.

Thank you for your interest and participation in the environmental analysis process. For more information on the project, please contact Frank Heide, Project Leader (530) 258-7129 or by email at frank.heide@usda.gov (with subject line “Dixie Fire Community Protection”). 

We look forward to your participation in this project.