The deadline for comments on the draft environmental impact statement for Tripod Fire salvage has been extended a week, to July 16, according to an announcement from the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.
Forest officials said the draft EIS is available for review and comment. It analyzes the impacts of salvage harvesting, replanting trees and removing roadside danger trees in a portion of the forest burned during last summer's Tripod Complex Fire.
Lightning storms in July 2006 ignited the Spur and Tripod fires, which eventually burned together and became the Tripod Complex Fire. That fire burned more than 175,000 acres, about 163,000 acres of it within the Methow Valley and Tonasket ranger districts of the Okanogan National Forest.
About 2,700 acres of the 38,278-acre salvage project area are proposed for commercial harvest, according to forest officials.
Analysis for the Tripod fire salvage and the east Tripod fuels reduction projects began before the fire was declared out.
"Harvest units from the 300-acre east Tripod fuels reduction project were offered for sale this winter," said Mark Morris, Tonasket district ranger. "The east Tripod fuels reduction project required winter logging though, and there were no buyers who felt they could complete the project this winter so it didn't sell."
East Tripod fire salvage units were incorporated into the Tripod Fire salvage project.
The project will recover the economic value of a proportion of dead trees and fire-injured trees expected to die within one year on about 2,700 acres, according to forest officials.
Removing fire-killed and damaged trees through salvage logging will provide saw timber and other wood products to local and regional economies, according to the Forest Service announcement. Both ground based and skyline logging are included within the proposed project.
Areas with high soil damage, old growth habitat, suitable lynx habitat and riparian habitat conservation areas will be excluded from salvage harvest. Inventoried roadless areas and areas with undeveloped characteristics that are adjacent to inventoried roadless areas will not be salvage harvested.
To improve public safety for forest road users, danger trees will be felled along about 50 miles of open roads within the project area, according to the proposal.
The project also will include planting native tree seedlings within salvage harvest units that do not have a sufficient seed source to ensure adequate and timely regeneration.
The draft EIS is online at www.fs.fed.us/r6/oka/projects.
A public meeting for answering questions and taking comments on the draft EIS is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 14, at the Winthrop Barn.
Comments may be e-mailed to email@example.com or sent to the Methow Valley Ranger District, attention John Newcom, district ranger, 24 W. Chewuch Road, Winthrop 98862.
More information is available from Bob Stoehr, interdisciplinary team leader at 996-4003.