USA – STANLEY, Idaho (AP) A group of city, county and federal stakeholders has unveiled a plan to thin thousands of acres of forest in central Idaho to cut down on wildfires in the region.
The Sawtooth Valley Wildland Fire Collaborative released details for several thinning projects last week aimed at getting rid of dead lodgepole pine trees, The Times-News reported (http://bit.ly/2oQkkcA ).
Bark beetles have caused significant damage to forests in the region in recent years, leaving dead and dying trees that elevate the risk of wildfires.
“It’s a cyclical phenomenon and hopefully the forest will restore themselves here,” said Gary O’Malley, executive director of the Sawtooth Society, a nonprofit organization formed to help protect the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. He added that there are “a lot of standing dead trees with the potential for a fire storm to go through there.”
The collaborative is looking to get work started next year on thinning 6,000 acres (2428.17 hectares) of forest surrounding Stanley Basin and the Sawtooth Valley.
“The good news is now there are concrete specific plans to make a large enough scale difference,” O’Malley said. “Time is of the essence with this.”
The Sawtooth Valley Wildland Fire Collaborative is comprised of stakeholders from federal, city and county government, private land owners and businesses. The group was formed to craft a wildfire prevention plan after a 2012 fire burned 179,000 acres (72440.31 hectares) north of Stanley.