BLMseeks comment on tree thinning | NevadaAppeal.com
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BLMseeks comment on tree thinning

Karl Horeis

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking comment on a proposal to thin trees in a section of the Pinenut Mountains as part of a national program to reduce fire risk to communities.

About 500 acres of pinyon and juniper trees will be mechanically shredded if the plan goes ahead. A public forum is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Carson City Field Office at 5665 Morgan Mill Road.

“Thinning those trees would basically reduce the intensity of a fire if one does come through there and it would increase the odds of desirable plants growing back,” said Tim Roide, fuels program manager for the field office.

“If we get too much fuel out there and there’s a wildfire – we’re going to get Cheat Grass.”

The proposal is aimed at a section in the north-central Pinenuts east of Brunswick Canyon. The area was “chained” in the 1960s. A length of heavy anchor chain was strung between two bulldozers and dragged through the area, leveling all trees. Vegetation has been growing back since.

“It’s a point now where we can maintain it as kind of a grass and shrub community so if a fire does come through there it will be a little less intense,” Roide said.

According to the bureau, trees are threatening to dominate the area to the point where understory vegetation is being crowded out. This sets the stage for devastating, high-intensity fire.

Roide’s proposed solution is to shred young juniper and pinyon trees with tractor-mounted mechanized equipment. It’s unclear exactly what type of vehicles and machines would be used.

“I think it’s pretty small stuff because you don’t want to churn the soil up too much,” said bureau public affairs officer Mark Struble.

The shredded plants would be left to reduce dust and stabilize the soil.

“Right now the project is just a proposal and we’re interested in the public’s ideas and suggestions,” Roide said.

The Feb. 11 meeting will include a small presentation and time for public comments and questions.

Depending on how the public responds to the proposal, work may begin as early as late spring or early summer but more likely early fall, Roide said.

Contact Karl Horeis at khoreis@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

If You Go

What: Public forum on BLM proposal to thin 500 acres in the Pinenut Mountains

When: Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m.

Where: The Carson City Field Office, 5665 Morgan Mill Road, Carson City