FS plans salvage of 1,864 acres in emergency sales

How to comment; more information

A 30-day comment period was scheduled to open on Jan. 29, timed to begin with the publication of legal notice in the Lewiston Tribune. Comments can be sent by email to comments-northern-nezperce@fs.fed.us. Instructions for providing comments are included with project documentation online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/nezperceclearwater/landmanagement/projects.

Find the full text of the Jan. 27 announcement at idahocountyfreepress.com/documents.

Emergency logging on salvage sales east of Kooskia and north of Lowell is in the works. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests on Jan. 27 announced 1,864 acres of salvage harvest and reforestation divided between two salvage projects, the Woodrat Salvage and the Upper Lolo Salvage.

In asking the Chief of the Forest Service for an “emergency situation determination,” combined forests supervisor Cheryl Probert noted: “The 2015 fire season…was exceptionally severe. Fuel moistures were low and temperatures were high throughout the spring and early summer. Dry lightning storms started 250 fires on National Forest System lands between Aug. 9-11. Eventually 195,683 acres burned, the majority of these acres being within the roaded ‘front country’ on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Over 280,000 acres of private, state, tribal and federal land were also affected.”

“The following proposals are two of several projects proposed to address the wildfires of 2015,” she continued. “The forest is also proposing projects that respond to emergency needs within the burned areas, maintain critical infrastructure and mitigate hazards to the public and forest employees, and restore burned landscapes. In total less than 3 percent of the area burned during the summer of 2015 on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is proposed for harvest, including this proposal as well as the removal of hazard trees.”

Planners anticipate as much as 3.7 million board feet can be harvested from 466 acres in the area torched by the Woodrat Fire last summer. This harvest would cover the costs of reforestation not only of the harvested acres, but of an additional 158 acres which were severely burned.

The Lochsa Ranger District is also proposing to salvage nearly 1,400 acres within the Musselshell, Yoosa, Four Bit and Mystery fire perimeters, and the announcement includes maps. Planners estimate 12.4 million board feet may be harvested in these areas.

All together, the two emergency salvage projects would include ground-based/tractor logging of 786 acres, cable-based/skyline logging of 1,046 acres and helicopter logging of 30 acres.

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