Decision issued for Warm Fire recovery plan

WILLIAMS - The Kaibab National Forest has released the Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Warm Fire Recovery Project on the North Kaibab Ranger District.

Both documents are available at www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/projects/warm under "Post Fire Recovery, Recovery EIS."

The Warm Fire was started by lightning on June 8, 2007. The fire met the criteria for wildland fire use spelled out in the Kaibab National Forest's land and fire management plans, and federal wildland fire management policies.

The forest managed the Warm Fire as a wildland fire use fire for approximately two and a half weeks.

However, the fire escaped the boundaries prescribed for wildland fire use and burned about 40,000 acres in the central part of the Kaibab Plateau from June 25, when fire managers shifted from a wildland fire use to a suppression strategy, until it was contained on July 4.

Much of that area burned at a high intensity and suffered severe fire effects.

The Record of Decision documents the decision to implement Alternative Ttwo, which results in the following activities in portions of the burned area:

• Harvesting fire-killed trees,

• Establishing conifer seedlings,

• Fuel reduction work along certain open roads and trails to meet scenic and recreation objectives.

Fire-killed trees will be harvested using stewardship contracts and timber sale contracts on 9,114 acres. Conifer trees will be planted on 9,978 acres in order to accelerate the return of forested conditions.

These areas have high levels of tree mortality, no significant aspen regeneration response, limited conifer seed sources and adequate soil conditions to ensure a reasonable chance of reforestation success.

In support of research on post-fire management, 25 untreated, 10-acre blocks will be established for various research projects within the salvage/planting activity units.

Studies being considered include effects of post-fire management activities on soils/watershed, weeds, fuels, wildlife, and forest composition/structure.

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