Tuolumne County, CA — With the BAER Team set to wrap up its work over the coming weeks, the Stanislaus National Forest will soon move into the next stage of post Rim Fire recovery.
Spokesperson Jerry Snyder says the Stanislaus National Forest is creating an organization of 55 people that will be broken down into three separate areas. Those include hazard tree removal, broad scale recovery and rehabilitation, and reforestation.
Snyder says the Rim Fire Recovery and Rehabilitation Organization will have three main objectives: “Move quickly and efficiently, deliver high quality analysis and decisions, and emphasize the importance of public engagement in project development.”
One of the tasks will be analyzing the best way to recover and harvest burned timber. Dead trees have roughly a two year window before they will rot and no longer have value as lumber. The organization will evaluate tree mortality and identify areas appropriate for tree reforestation.
An Environmental Impact Statement will be completed and used as a guide for overall recovery efforts. It will include items like road and culvert repairs (not completed by BAER Team), capture the value of burned timber, and include plans to treat the burned area to make it more fire resilient in the future.
The makeup of the 55 person team will include a mix of Stanislaus National Forest employees, Forest Service employees from other regions, and specialized contractors. About 1/3 will be from the Stanislaus National Forest.
It is anticipated that most of the decisions made by the team will come next Summer, with work to begin shortly after.
The Forest Service reports that during the project development phase there will be a unique public collaboration component to promote public comments much earlier than the average NEPA environmental review process.