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For Release on: January 8, 2018
Contact: Deanna Dulen, 760-924-5505
Public Scoping Opens for Comments on Fire Management Plan Update
On January 8, 2018, Devils Postpile National Monument will initiate a public scoping process, in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act, as an initial step towards updating the park's 2005 Fire Management Plan (FMP). The purpose of the update is to address fire and fuels management, respond to declining forest health, protect natural and cultural resources, and reduce the risk of catastrophic fire. Scoping comments will be accepted through February 16, 2018.
A combination of specific events and overall landscape conditions have increased the risk of catastrophic fire and affected forest health. After a century of fire exclusion, the 1992 Rainbow Fire burned 82% of the Monument. High burn severity areas that were formerly conifer forests are now dominated by shrubs and have very little conifer regeneration. In 2011, the Devils Windstorm blew down thousands of large diameter trees resulting in canopy loss and an enormous increase in dead and downed fuels. These two events, along with continued fire exclusion, drought and climate warming, have profoundly affected the forest stand structure and conifer regeneration, as well as increased fuel loading in the Monument.
The FMP and Environmental Assessment (EA) is needed to respond to the heavy fuel loading and altered forest conditions in the Monument and offer a strategy to improve ecosystem resistance and resilience to multiple stressors such as climate change, insect infestations and drought. The proposed FMP alternatives would address wildfire and fuels management throughout the Monument, including strategies for the suppression of unwanted wildland fire, the management of wildland fire for multiple objectives including resource benefit, and the use of prescribed fire and mechanical fuel treatments to promote resource protection objectives. The proposed FMP update builds on guidance from the Monument’s 2014 General Management Plan and 2016 State of the Park Report.
Public comments on the proposed scope of the EA for the FMP update are welcomed and can be made one of these ways:
- A public scoping open house will be held at the Mammoth Lakes Library Ellie Randol room on January 17, 2018 from 3:30 to 6:30 pm.
- Letter addressed to Superintendent, NPS POB 3999 Mammoth Lakes CA 93546
- Online through the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at parkplanning.nps.gov/depo. Select “Fire Management Plan Update”.