Thinner and Safer |

Thinner and Safer

Seth Lightcap/Sierra Sun

A delicate forest thinning operation is pulling timber from 65 acres of forest near Dollar Creek and brought the area back to a fire-safe state.

The North Tahoe Fire Protection District is in the final stages of finishing the high priority project at the Firestone site in Tahoe City. The Dollar Hill project is a cooperative effort between the fire district and the land owners, the Tahoe City Public Utility District.

Using federal funds from fuels reduction grants and in-kind matches from Tahoe City Public Utility District, the $180,000 project has harvested usable timber for lumber and firewood while chipping and masticating all of the forest understory. A portion of the site falls within the watershed of Dollar Creek so special fuels reduction techniques had to comply with regulations of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Lahontan Water Quality Board.

“We’re using state of the art techniques in this project,” said North Tahoe Fire Protection District Forest Fuels Program Manager Stewart McMorrow referring to the hand crews and track chipper that were employed in the work. “Being sensitive to the watercourse has been one of the most critical aspects of this fuels reduction project.”

McMorrow was also pleased with the increased cooperation he has seen with the TRPA and the Lahontan Water Quality Board on fuels reduction projects adjacent to wetlands.

“It’s no longer if we can do it. It’s how will we do it,” said McMorrow. “Everyone is focused on defensible space so we’re now able to get in and work on these watersheds within the regulations.”

Having already harvested a majority of the acreage, logging operations will be completed in the coming week, and a masticator will clear the final few acres of the site, finishing the project within the month.

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