Placer County partners with U.S. Forest Service in Mosquito Fire restoration effort
Published on July 13, 2023
The Placer County Board of Supervisors yesterday took the final step needed to launch a timber salvage project being jointly managed by the county and the U.S. Forest Service - improving public safety and preparing 2,636 acres of previously forested ground for replanting and restoration after last year’s devastating Mosquito Fire.
The board's unanimous approval amends an existing contract with Mason, Bruce & Girard Inc., an environmental services firm recently chosen through a competitive bidding process to provide forestry services related to the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project.
The amendment adds Mosquito Fire timber salvage sale administration activities to the scope of work and increases the contract amount accordingly.
This modification allows the county to meet the Mosquito Fire Restoration Project timeline and expedited expenditure deadline tied to the Forest Service’s emergency funding for this project. It also will ensure efficient and consistent county oversight and supervision over both projects given their close proximity.
The board in June approved a request to accept $700,000 from the Forest Service to cover the management of timber salvage under the Mosquito Fire Restoration Project, including the hiring of a forestry consultant to conduct pre-sale activities, timber sale administration and field oversight.
Salvage operations will proceed in phases on 2,636 acres within the 4,000-acre Mosquito Fire Restoration Project footprint, in which approximately 200,000 conifer trees were affected by the fire. The replanting and restoration project aims to address the aftermath of the fire, minimize its impact on the environment and surrounding communities, and restore the natural balance of the region's ecosystem.
The decision marks a significant step forward in the county's ongoing partnership with the Forest Service in forest restoration efforts within the county.
“The collaboration between the Forest Service and Placer County exemplifies a shared commitment to proactive forest management to benefit the county’s natural and human communities,” said Placer County Regional Forest Health Coordinator Kerri Timmer. “By leveraging our collective expertise and resources, we can more effectively address the challenges posed by severe forest fires in our region. This partnership not only protects residents, recreationists and forestry workers but also contributes to the long-term ecological health and economic viability of the county.”
With the amendment now in place, timber operators can remove fire-killed timber before it poses a danger to residents, visitors and foresters in the field, and while the timber still has economic value to help offset the cost of doing the work.
The areas being treated as part of the Mosquito Fire Restoration Project are adjacent to key roadways including Mosquito Ridge Road, Deadwood Road and Foresthill Divide Road.
The impacted region includes the communities of Foresthill and Michigan Bluff, as well as several recreational areas such as the North Fork of the Middle Fork American River, Grouse Falls Scenic Area, and various off-highway-vehicle and hiking trails, including the Western States Trail.
“Placer County remains committed to the complete recovery and rejuvenation of the areas impacted by the Mosquito Fire,” said Placer County District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “With this contract, the county is taking a significant stride toward achieving its restoration goals while ensuring the efficient use of resources and meeting the requirements outlined by the Tahoe National Forest.”