Project Photo Gallery | Fire Management | Wildland Fire in the Park
The overall goal of this treatment strategy is to re-establish a fire adapted forest landscape by restoring a more resilient, diverse forest structure. Specifically, the treatment will maintain a multi-aged forest with significant old-growth elements, promote a more varied stand structure and stand species diversity, and restore and protect wildlife habitat.
A Century of Fire Exclusion
One hundred years of fire exclusion in the northwest corner of Lassen Volcanic National Park has resulted in overly dense and unhealthy forest areas. In the absence of surface fires, young white fir have formed dense thickets crowding out old growth pines, aspen stands, and understory shrub and grass vegetation. Lassen Volcanic will implement a mechanical treatment strategy to remove unhealthy fuel loads. The process will reduce old growth mortality rates, promote a more varied stand structure, and restore and protect wildlife habitat.
Restoring Fuel Load Levels through Mechanical Treatment
The first step in this forest restoration process involves one-time entry with mechanized equipment to reduce live understory and ladder fuels. Prescriptions for each unit focus on areas near old-growth pine, aspen groves, and healthy pine stands. Successful fuel removal reduces the possibility of high-intensity wildfire and prepares the forest for a return to historic and natural fire activity.
Maintaining a Healthy Forest Structure with Prescribed Fire
Once natural fuel load levels are restored through mechanical treatment, fire is reintroduced onto the landscape through prescribed fire application. This second step is completed approximately three to five years after mechanical treatment. Historically, fire burned regularly in this area every 5 to 20 years, naturally maintaining density and forest health. Prescribed fire applications in similar conditions without prior mechanical treatment have resulted in high-intensity fire behavior. The combination of both treatments restores healthy forest structure and supports the use of prescribed fire to maintain areas without further use of mechanical equipment.
Project Accomplishments and Next Steps
Mechanical treatment in 2014 successfully restored natural fuel loads to areas closest to the Manzanita Lake Area (units 1-7). Contractors completed significant restoration activities including removing tread marks and creating erosion control systems.
Last updated: October 17, 2019