Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Name of Community: Kingsbury
Date: July, 2004
Project Title: Kingsbury Unit 3 - Thinning and Brush Removal
Vegetative Fuel and Topography: The Kingsbury Unit 3 prescription area is characterized by a dense forest stand of Jeffrey pine, with a brush understory of manzanita and other associated shrubs. Open areas are dense fields of brush. Stand density varies from 60 square feet of basal area per acre to 300 square feet of basal area per acre. Part of the prescription area has slopes over 30%.
Worst Case Scenario / Hazard: A human-caused ignition on a high hazard day with wind blowing upslope off the lake would push an uncontrollable fire up the Edgewood Creek drainage and into Kingsbury neighborhoods. The Gondola Fire in 2003 exhibited similar behavior.
Because of large expanses of fuels below and upwind of the community, this project ranks as #2 priority for the TDFPD.
South of State Route 207 in the Edgewood Creek drainage. See Figure 11-11 for details
Remove or thin brush understory to lower fire intensity and reduce ladder fuels. Remove dead and down material. Spacing between remaining bushes should be 2-3 times the height of brush. Remove brush and smaller trees from underneath residual trees to a distance of 10 feet. A brush masticator or “Bull Hog” could be used where slopes are less than 30%. Aerial systems or other steep slope methods should be explored on area greater than 30%. Hand cut, pile, and burn. Use of herbicide could reduce sprouting of some species.
Thin forest stand from below, removing smaller trees and leaving larger ones to achieve the desired stocking rate of 80 to 100 square feet of basal area per acre. Where dominant trees are left, prune limbs to 15 feet above the ground and maintain a minimum tree spacing of 10 to 20 feet between crowns. Remove trees heavily infected with dwarf mistletoe or other disease.
*Prescribed fire could be used to reduce the brush understory, and desired where feasible to return fire to the landscape. It should only be applied in areas after thinning and slash pile burning are complete to maintain fire control.
Treatment in this area will help contain human-caused ignitions below the project area, keeping fire spreading uphill towards a residential development and becoming uncontrollable. This treatment will be the best defense against a fire in the lower Kingsbury neighborhoods moving into the upper neighborhoods. This treatment will be necessary if suppression resources are to be effective in stopping such a fire. Implementation of the prescription will reduce the competition among residual trees, increasing forest health and decreasing tree mortality. This will reduce the accumulated amount of dead and down material contributing to the fuel loadings on the forest floor. Thinning will also increase the spacing between residual trees, allowing heat from a ground fire to escape through the canopy, lowering fire intensity and decreasing the ability of the stand to carry a crown fire.
If all of the recommendations in this report are implemented, there is still no guarantee that a devastating wildfire will not occur in the area. However, community awareness and individual attention to fuels management on private property and fuel reduction on state, federal, and county property will help to achieve the highest level of wildfire safety possible.
Environmental compliance measures must be implemented before project initiation. Stream Environment Zones are located in the project area and must be protected, employing appropriate TRPA mitigation measures.
Some threatened and endangered species exist in the Tahoe Basin. Appropriate avoidance and mitigation measures should be employed during project implementation.
Compliance with cultural resource protection may also be necessary. Check with TRPA and the NVSHPO to ensure cultural resources are protected.
Rehabilitate any fire control lines, landings or disturbed areas. Rehabilitation will be minimal if only hand methods are used. Where soil has been disturbed, TRPA rehabilitation measures and Best Management Practices would apply. This could include reseeding or mulching areas if necessary.
April - December. Burn with snow on the ground.
Two to four years.
Cable yarding is recommended, however, no costs for cable yarding were available. The costs below are a minimum based on currently accepted methods in the Tahoe Basin.
|Hand cut, pile, and burn||$2,000 / acre X 320 acres|
|Prescribed fire within 5 years||$2,000 / acre X 320 acres|
|Total Cost||$ 1,280,000|
Run prescribed fire through the area five years after the initial treatment; then re-burn at 10-year intervals
Re-thin the area in 15 to 20 years after the initial treatment.
Proposed Prescription Area Kingsbury Unit 3