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More than $33 million allocated to Wildfire Crisis Strategy efforts in northern California’s Trinity Forest Health landscape

Forest Service News Release

REDDING, CA, (JULY 2, 2024) — The U.S. Forest Service is expanding its work in the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests as part of its ongoing Wildfire Crisis Strategy (WCS) efforts, allocating $33.4 million for additional projects to boost forest resilience and reduce wildfire risk in local communities.

Projects include forest thinning, prescribed burning, building fuel breaks and infrastructure improvements, among many other efforts to help reduce risk in some of the most wildfire-prone woodlands in the country.

“In 2023, the Trinity Wildfire Crisis Strategy was created, we made excellent impacts in fuel treatments, tripling our targets,” said Marcus Nova, Forest Service WCS implementation leader for the Trinity Forest Health Landscape. “In 2024, we’re not only continuing that work, but expanding and accelerating it on the most at-risk landscape to wildfire in California.”


In January 2023, the Trinity Forest Health and Fire-Resilient Rural Communities landscape was identified as one of 21 high-risk landscapes to receive increased funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

The Trinity landscape, in northwestern California, encompasses 1.6 million acres, 67% of which are shared between the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. The landscape centers on Trinity County and extends into neighboring Humboldt and Shasta counties. Many communities within the Trinity landscape, including culturally significant tribal lands, are at substantial risk to wildfire.

Decades of fire suppression and a warming, drier climate in much of the western United States has created a heightened risk of wildfires that can destroy wildlife habitat, degrade water quality and threaten communities and businesses. Recent high-intensity fires caused severe damage to several important watersheds and habitats for at-risk species, in addition to the impact felt by communities that border or are inside the two forests.

Funding for the Wildfire Crisis Strategy projects aims to restore at-risk forests to a more natural, fire-resilient state.

An initial round of $15.9 million was allocated for several projects for 2023. The latest round of funding will add new projects to the overall WCS plan and continue the work started last year.

Both the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests are coordinating efforts with key land management partners to prioritize projects that enhance fire-adapted ecosystems while reducing risk to communities and critical infrastructure.

“This is an effort that no single organization can accomplish alone,” said Rachel Birkey, Shasta-Trinity National Forest supervisor. “That’s one of the main reasons the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests are working closely with our local partners – many hands don’t just lighten the load, they allow us to carry it to the finish line and reach our goals.”

“We have been working collaboratively with our communities and partners for many years to reduce risk in the wildland urban interface and enhance forest resilience,” said Ted McArthur, Six Rivers National Forest supervisor. “With the development of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy it has helped us increase our pace and provided the opportunity for us to really start addressing the issues at scale on the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests.

“Building on the relationships we have been developing over the last few years we have been able to move more quickly and effectively in response to this opportunity and investment in our communities and forests,” McArthur said.

Reducing wildfire risk

Some of the methods the Forest Service and its partners use to boost forest and habitat resiliency include:

Forest thinning: Many forest lands have grown too dense, creating unbroken forest canopies that can increase the speed and intensity in which wildfire spreads. By removing selected trees and “thinning” the canopy, the severity of fires can be reduced.

Ground fuels reduction: This entails removal of selected smaller trees, undergrowth and vegetation debris that can act as fuel for fires. Too much forest floor vegetation can be a “ladder” that fire can climb into the forest canopy. Reducing the volume of this vegetation can reduce the risk of fires intensifying and spreading, and increase the health of the habitat.

Fuel breaks: Removing trees and other vegetation in strategically placed areas creates “breaks” in the landscape where fuels are greatly reduced, and fires can be stopped from spreading. Added clearing near existing breaks, such as roads and power lines, can protect communities, transportation routes and other vital infrastructure.

Prescribed fire: Reintroducing low-intensity fire to the forest floor as a tool to improve forest health by safely clearing vegetation that could turn into fuel for future wildfires can assist in restoring the landscape to a more historically natural state.

Some of the latest projects

Among the projects being funded and planned now are:

Willow Creek Fire Risk Reduction Project: Prescribed fire, forest thinning and creating a network of strategic fuel breaks in the Willow Creek area. The project is designed to reduce fire risk for the communities of Willow Creek, Salyer, Hawkins Bar, and the Hoopa Valley Tribe Indian Reservation. Partners include the Hoopa Valley Tribe, the Tsnungwe Tribe, Willow Creek Fire Safe Council, The Nature Conservancy, Humboldt County and the Humboldt County Resource Conservation District.

Trinity County Pilot Roads and Plantations Project: Fuels reduction adjacent to roads and plantation thinning. Creating a strategic fuel break near Hayfork. Designed with the Trinity County Collaborative Group, this project reduces wildfire risk and improves access to routes to and from Hayfork. Partners include the Watershed Research & Training Center and the Trinity County Resource Conservation District. Implementation starts this summer.

Bowerman Fuel Break and Fuels Reduction: Building needed firebreaks serving the Guy Covington and Trinity Center communities. Partners include the Watershed Research & Training Center and the Trinity County Resource Conservation District. The project is part of a cooperative fuel break system that crosses ownership boundaries.

Hyampom Community Wildfire Risk Reduction Project: Building fuel breaks near critical roads and bridges around the community of Hyampom, plus prescribed fire and forest thinning. Partners include the Hyampom Fire Safe Council and the Trinity County Collaborative Group.

Big Ranch Community Risk Reduction: The project will include development of strategic fuel management zones, plantation maintenance, post-fire restoration, general thinning associated with forest health and resilience and prescribed fire. The project is being developed to reduce the risk of wildfire to the communities of Big Bar, Burnt Ranch and Salyer and to improve fuels conditions adjacent to national forest system roads. Funds were allocated to this project for wildlife, botany and archeology surveys that will be used in the planning process.

North Trinity County Community Risk Reduction: The project will include the development of fuel management zones, plantation maintenance, post-fire restoration, general forest thinning and prescribed fire. The Forest Service is working with adjacent landowners to continue treatments across all lands. The project is being designed to reduce the risk of wildfire to communities in northern Trinity County, improve fuels conditions adjacent to State Highway 3 north and improve overall forest health and resilience. Funds were allocated to this project for wildlife, botany and archeology surveys that will be used in the planning process.

Junction City Community Risk Reduction: This project is being developed in collaboration with the Junction City community and the Watershed Research & Training Center. The project is being designed to address post-fire restoration and fuels reduction associated with portions of the Monument Fire. Potential treatments include general forest thinning, hazardous fuels reduction, reforestation and development of fuel management zones.

Weaverville Fuel Break: This project creates a shaded fuel break in the Weaverville Community Forest. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is working with the Trinity County Resource Conservation District, Weaverville Community Forest Steering Group and the local Cooperative Fuel Break working group which includes representatives from the Bureau of Land Management, CAL FIRE, Sierra Pacific Industries, Corral Creek Timber and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

South Fork Mountain Project: Address overall resiliency in plantations through a series of thinnings near South Fork Mountain and Indian Valley. This will benefit trees by increasing growing space, reducing disease spread and increasing tree species diversity.

Rattail and Bucktail Vegetation Management Projects: These projects increase forest resilience through vegetation pile burning, fuels reduction and forest thinning activities near the community of Dinsmore.

Trinity Campgrounds Forest Health Project: This project provides for forest thinning work and prescribed fire at campground sites around Trinity Lake.

Westside Plantation Thinning Project: This project provides for forest thinning and fuels reduction near Indian Valley south of Hayfork.

Additional funding for public education about wildfire, assisting partner organizations, and planning/studies for other new projects is geared toward reducing the risk of damaging wildfire in the region at a greater scale.

By embarking on wildfire mitigation projects through the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, the Forest Service seeks to boost public safety, improve forest health and provide jobs in the forest.

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