On December 12th, Northern California Regional Land Executive Director Paul Kirk and Conservation Assistant and Planner Holly Nielsen joined a multi-agency tour organized by Calli-Jane DeAnda (Executive Director, Butte County Fire Safe Council) to view mechanical mastication and tree removal thinning project impacts on fire behavior along the urban-wildland interface in Paradise and Magalia.
The devastation in the wake of the Camp Fire remains a dark cloud over our community, but there are some brighter spots: it demonstrated the effectiveness of several pre-fire thinning and mastication projects. Thinning on Department of Water Resources (DWR) lands near Lime Saddle likely prevented the fire from jumping the road there; thinning projects reduced the severity of impacts to Paradise Lake (source of drinking water for Paradise) and the upper Butte Creek watershed (an anadromous fishery); and a thinning project on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Upper Ridge Nature Preserve was integral in protecting the Pine Ridge School.
It is important to recognize management techniques effective in reducing danger to human communities in fire prone landscapes while improving forest health. Given the devastation wrought by the Camp Fire, it is equally important to share these success stories.
The tour, with its broad spectrum of participants, also highlighted the urgency and necessity of partnerships between agencies, private sector, and non-profits in addressing landscape-level planning and fire-safe management in our forests, grasslands, and chaparral along the urban-wildlands interface.