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Forest Awarded Over $57 Million For Reducing Fuel Loads

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Sonora, CA – Stanislaus National Forest recently received $57.6 million for its Stanislaus Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape annual budget to reduce fuel loads.

The FY24 funding is part of the Forest Services’ Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which also includes the already underway Social and Ecological Resilience Across the Landscape Project (SERAL), as earlier detailed here.

“This funding level is a clear indicator that we are on the right path with our work and should continue at full speed,” said Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor Jason Kuiken. “Not only is that apparent as people drive up Highway 108 and see with their own eyes the work, but it’s an acknowledgment all the way from Washington, D.C., that this work should continue.”

The forest is currently in year three of a ten-year, 305,000-acre project to reduce fuel loads through various methods, including mechanical thinning and the application of prescribed fire. Kiuken also praised the partnership with Tuolumne County and the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions Collaborative (YSS) for the pace and scale of these accomplishments.

Tuolumne River Trust is a member of YSS and is responsible for project management and inspection of fuels reduction contracts awarded by the county, to which Kuiken added that their efforts were critical in increasing Forest Service capacity.

Associated California Loggers President Mike Albrecht noted that after decades of adversarial “wrangling” over forest management policy, 25 local industry, environmental, and recreational groups decided it was time to focus on what could be agreed upon, and that was a lot.

“YSS agreed to salvage logs from the Rim Fire, get it reforested, develop a fuel break network to protect our local communities, and restore meadows, streams, and wetlands to better health,” touted Albrecht. “This agreement has gotten us national attention and subsequent funding to undertake large “landscape-level” forest management projects. This would not have been accomplished without the close 3-way partnership between Tuolumne County, YSS, and the U.S. Forest Service.  Kudos to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen!”

For more information about the Stanislaus Wildfire Crisis Strategy Landscape and a closer look at the map in the image box, click here.