PG&E has started to remove fire-damaged trees to improve the forest health on its property in the areas burned by the Chips Fire in August in Plumas County.
The Chips Fire burned and damaged trees on PG&E property in Humbug Valley, Canyon Dam and Butt Valley, all located west of Lake Almanor. Harvesting is currently underway in the Humbug Valley, followed by lands in Butt Valley Reservoir and Canyon Dam.
The Chips Fire burned about 368 acres within the 2,325 acres PG&E owns in Humbug Valley. PG&E’s logging contractor is removing trees that burned or will die from fire damage and will do erosion control work ahead of the wet season.
The harvest will leave healthy trees behind, although in some spots all trees were damaged. The culling will improve forest health by reducing the spread of tree diseases and reducing future fire risk.
Archeologists surveyed the burned area with a representative from the Maidu tribal people to identify areas of cultural importance and no logging will occur in those locations.
To further restore the area, PG&E will grow conifer seedlings this winter and then plant the seedlings in the spring of 2014 in the Humbug Valley, Butt Valley Reservoir, and Canyon Dam burn areas. The seedlings will be grown in a nursery from seeds that were previously collected from native trees growing in the region at the same elevation band.
The Humbug Valley timber harvest is expected to be completed in November, at which time the logging company will start work to harvest trees on 220 burned acres in Butt Valley, and then work in the 110 acres burned at Canyon Dam. If harvesting cannot be completed before winter, it will resume next spring.
PG&E’s 2,325 acres in the Humbug Valley lands are available for donation by PG&E and a conservation easement will be placed upon the parcels. The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, established in 2004 as part of PG&E’s bankruptcy settlement, is looking to recommend a donee to receive title to the land, at which point PG&E will work with the potential land holder on a transfer. The California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will approve any land transfers.