SRNF back to work after government shutdown, prescribed burns re-scheduled
NORTH COAST- National parks along the north coast re-opened for the first time Thursday after the partial government shutdown. The redwood national park re-opened and the Six Rivers National Forest following the 16-day federal government shutdown due to lapse in appropriations.
The last government shutdown happened in 1995 and the most recent shutdown scare came just two years ago when federal officials reached a deal just hours before the deadline. Supervisor Tyrone Kelley with Six Rivers National Forest said there is a specific protocol in place leading up to the final decision, and right now they are working to get things back on track,
"We got all the papers that were backed up, we got all the mail, and so we are going through and sorting through those things. Thinning contracts were shut down, timber contracts were shut down, as well as our fire prescribed program which we burn around the community," said Kelley.
The prescribed burns were set to take place during the shutdown and are normally scheduled during this time of year due to the changing weather conditions. Fire officials say along the North Coast we have moved out of the higher fire danger season and into the more reduced fire danger risk. Because we have yet to see the first major rainfall, crews have been working throughout the forest to try and reduce some of the hazardous fuels. They said it is important to do it during the fall because it will help firefighters in the long run, during the peak season of the year when the fire danger is at its highest.
"If we have a wildfire in those conditions control is much more difficult” said Six Rivers National Forest Fire Chief Mike Minton. The prescribed burns will take place at various locations. The Forest Service will be working closely with the National Weather Service in Eureka and the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.
Smith River NRA-Gasquet District:
Total: 690 acres
· 282 acres in the Elk Camp Fuel Break Project located northeast of Gasquet near the North Fork Loop Road
· 105 acres in the Big Flat Project located near the community of Big Flat
· 3 acres in the Pappas Flat Project located near Gasquet off Forest Service (FS) Road 17N49
· 85 acres in the Coon Mountain Meadow Restoration Project along FS 17N07 (Lower Coon Mountain Road)
· 15 acres within the Coon Mountain Meadow Restoration Project
· 175 acres within the Big Flat Project
· 25 acres within the Station 3 Project located on FS 17N21 & 17N22 roads off Low Divide Road
Smoke will be visible from the town of Gasquet on Highway 199, South Fork Road, French Hill Road, and Low Divide Road, but should not affect travel on Highway 199 or 197.
Orleans/Ukonom Ranger Districts:
Total: 586 acres
Understory burns: 261 acres within the Hazel Vegetation Project located southwest of Orleans.
Pile burning: 325 acres within the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction Project around the town of Orleans.
Smoke will be visible from the town of Orleans and along Highway 96, but will not affect travel routes.
Lower Trinity District
Total: 25 acres
Understory burns: 14 acres within administrative sites including the Salyer Work Center, Greys Falls Campground and the Brush Mountain Lookout. Burning hazardous fuels around administrative sites will help protect the important and valuable Forest Service infrastructures.
Pile burning: 11 acres along the Mill Creek Road, east of Hoopa, as well as on South Fork Road, near Hennessy Ridge Road in Salyer.
Smoke will be visible from Highway 299 or 96 in the Salyer and Willow Creek areas, but will not affect any travel routes.
Mad River Ranger District:
Total: 110 acres
· 20 acres in the Van Duzen Vegetation Management Project area located between the Van Duzen Road and the Mad Ridge Fuelbreak on Mad River Rock Road
· 25 acres on the Mad Ridge Fuelbreak between Ruth Lake and Hettenshaw Valley
· 50 acres in the Little Gulch Timber Sale area south of Ruth
· 15 acres within administrative sites such as the Mad River, Ruth and Zenia Compounds, and developed campgrounds in the Ruth Lake, Mad River and Zenia area
Smoke may be visible from the communities of Mad River, Hettenshaw Valley, Zenia and Ruth but will not affect any major travel routes.