LITTLE RIVER, 3/9/21 — The August Complex was the first ever “gigafire” in modern California history, meaning that it burned over one million acres, which, in this case, included over 600,000 acres in Mendocino National Forest. Now, the cleanup process is beginning.
The U.S. Forest Service is seeking input on the “Plaskett-Keller” fire recovery project in Mendocino National Forest. The project will log dead or dying trees on 4,500 acres of forest around 15 miles from Covelo.
“The proposal includes post-fire recovery activities to remove fire-killed and fire-injured trees in order to improve employee and public safety, capture remaining economic value of dead trees and reduce post-fire fuels to prevent excessive accumulation of fuels,” the Forest Service wrote in their press release on the project.
Essentially, they will log the 4,500 acres, which includes a few campsites and roads, in order to remove dead trees that they believe are at risk of falling and therefore pose a safety concern.
Comments on the project can be submitted until March 17 via email to [email protected] with “Plaskett-Keller” in the subject line, via mail to Attn: Plaskett-Keller. 825 North Humboldt Avenue, Willows, CA 95988 or via fax to 530-934-7348.
After multiple phone calls, messages, and emails, The Mendocino Voice has been unable to reach a project representative to get more details on the project. The full press release on Plaskett-Keller is available here.
Forest Service News Release
Forest seeks comments on proposed Plaskett-Keller project
August Complex Phase 1 project
WILLOWS, Calif., Feb. 16, 2021—The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed Plaskett-Keller August Complex Phase 1 project on the Mendocino National Forest (MNF). This proposed project covers approximately 4,500 acres in the middle of the Forest about 15 miles from Covelo and 36 miles from Willows.
The proposed Plaskett-Keller project crosses multiple jurisdictional lines (ranger districts, counties, and land ownership) and is an excellent area for partnerships and collaboration on land management. It also contains several campgrounds and major roads used frequently by the public and Forest Service employees. The proposal includes post-fire recovery activities to remove fire-killed and fire-injured trees in order to improve employee and public safety, capture remaining economic value of dead trees, and reduce post-fire fuels to prevent the excessive accumulation of fuels.
The August Complex burned a total of 1,032,648 acres, including 612,634 acres on the MNF. For post-fire recovery, forest resource specialists considered the Rapid Assessmentconducted by the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers national forests as a foundation to develop a three-phase approach for restoration. Phase 1 will address time-sensitive safety concerns along roadways and campgrounds as well as economic recovery. Phase 2 involves restoration activities such as reforestation, additional fuels reduction work, habitat enhancement, recreation site improvements, and more. Phase 3 will focus on long-term recovery across the landscape using the Watershed Condition Frameworkapproach.
A scoping letter with additional details and maps are available for download from the project website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=59444.
The participation of interested persons, organizations, state and local governments, and tribes is encouraged throughout the process of developing this project. Our desire is to receive comments on the merits of the proposed action, as well as comments that address concerns. Public questions and comments regarding this proposal are an integral part of the environmental analysis process. Comments will be used to identify issues and develop alternatives to the proposed action. To best assist the Forest Service in developing this project, comments should be as specific as possible.
Your comments would be the most useful if they are received by Wednesday, March 17, 2021. All comments, including source information, will become part of the public record, and therefore will be subject to release upon request.
How to comment: Comments may be submitted via email to [email protected](include “Plaskett-Keller” in the subject line); via mail to Mendocino National Forest: Attn: Plaskett-Keller. 825 N Humboldt Ave., Willows, CA 95988; or via facsimile to (530) 934-7384.