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Healthy Forests Initiative - Fact Sheet

Making A Difference
White River National Forest - Colorado

The objective of this project is to improve fire-fighter effectiveness by reducing the wildfire hazard within the immediate wildland-urban interface (WUI) of Silverthorne, CO. Project planning was completed using the new categorical exclusions under the Healthy Forests Initiative, which allowed the District to move quickly to address the fire risk affecting two subdivisions.

The project area encompasses 200 feet around the perimeter of the Wilder nest and Mesa Cortina subdivisions in Silverthorne, Co. With the exception of lynx winter foraging habitat, the project width on National Forest land is 200 feet from the private property line. The length of the project area is almost 4 miles. Approximately 88 acres will be treated over the next 5 years. About 5.7 acres of the 200 foot wide area will not be treated because it is lynx winter foraging habitat and not within 200 feet of a structure.

Fuels reduction will be accomplished by thinning trees and reducing the total dead and down fuel on the ground. Treatments will reduce the wildfire rate of spread and threat to the community while improving public and firefighter safety and reducing potential property and environmental loss. The risk from a fire originating on adjacent private lands and escaping and threatening federal lands will also be minimized with these treatments.

The project area has been identified as sustaining a crown fire capable of moving from the Eagle’s Nest Wilderness into an area of the National Forest near the homes in the two subdivisions. Past mountain pine beetle infestations, subsequent treatments, and natural accumulations of downed woody debris have all contributed to the amount of dead fuels adjacent to homes in the area.

This project meets the intent of the Lower Blue Fire Management Unit of the White River National Forest Fire Management Plan. The Plan identifies the area as a high-risk area, where the management emphasis is on fuels treatments. The White River National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan objectives for the forest include “Increase the amount of forest and rangelands restored to or maintained in a healthy condition with reduced risk and damage from fires”.

The Summit County Wildland-Urban Interface project is a cooperative venture with the US Forest Service, the local homeowners’ associations, Colorado State Forest Service, and Summit County.

Key Contact: For more information about this and other projects please contact Peech Keller, District Planner, of Dillon Ranger District at 970-468-3495.

For more information on the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 and the Healthy Forests Initiative, visit www.healthyforests.gov

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Last modified March 28, 2013
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