Forest Service seeking input to restore Angora burn area

Dan Thrift/Nevada Appeal News Service A plant sprouts near a burned stump in front of a home on Iron Mountain Circle on Tuesday.

Dan Thrift/Nevada Appeal News Service A plant sprouts near a burned stump in front of a home on Iron Mountain Circle on Tuesday.

Amid banging hammers and the hum of construction equipment, Diana Freeman noticed a short, bright-green growth sticking up near some rocks and a small, slightly faded U.S. flag in her front yard.

"My tulips are coming back," Freeman exclaimed gleefully. "I just noticed those."

In April, Freeman and her husband, Stan, were among the first people who lost homes in last summer's Angora fire to move back into the area.

While much of the forest surrounding the home on Pyramid Court still is an anemic patchwork of black, brown and green, Stan Freeman is persistently upbeat about the recovery of the neighborhoods burned by the Angora fire.

"It's going to be phenomenal in a few years, and I hope everyone knows that," Stan Freeman said.

Like many of the homes in the Angora burn area, U.S. Forest Service land runs behind the Freemans' backyard.

How the thousands of acres of federal land burned by the Angora fire will experience a resurgence of life similar to the Freeman's front yard is the topic of an open house this week.

"We want to hear from the community how they want the area affected by the Angora fire to look in the next 10 to 50 years," U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Cheva Heck said in a statement. "We will be looking at options for replanting, reducing fuels, reconstructing stream channels, restoring meadow and streambank vegetation, and providing access for recreation through our roads and trails."

"The intent of the meeting is not to present a restoration plan," said Forest Service spokesman Rex Norman. "We are at the very beginning of developing the restoration plan for the Angora area."

After an introduction by Lake Tahoe Basin Forest Supervisor Terri Marceron, resource specialists will be available at stations at the open house to explain possible activities, answer questions and take input.

Today's meeting will begin a 30-day period during which the Forest Service will invite the public to review possible activities and comment on plans for the future of the Angora fire area.

There will be additional opportunities to comment on Angora restoration as the Forest Service begins the National Environmental Policy Act process for the restoration project.

The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit will post restoration planning information on its Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu and also make it available at the front desk at the Forest Supervisor's Office at 35 College Drive.

As for the Freemans: "We're just happy to be back," Stan said.

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