Hazardous Fuels Management Plan Environmental Assessment Available for Public Comment

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Date: August 21, 2013
Contact: Morgan Warthin, 907-644-3418

ANCHORAGE: The National Park Service (NPS) has released for public review an environmental

assessment (EA) that addresses new protocols for protecting life and infrastructure within Alaska

National Park System area boundaries by managing hazardous vegetation, also known as fuels.

Areas covered in the proposed plan include: Katmai National Park and Preserve, Lake Clark

National Park and Preserve, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Yukon-Charley Rivers

National Preserve, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Bering Land Bridge National

Preserve, Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Noatak National Preserve and Kobuk Valley

National Park. The analysis does not include areas in Southeast Alaska, Kenai Fjords National Park,

and Denali National Park and Preserve.

 

Each affected NPS area has an approved fire management plan (FMP) and fuels management plan.

The plans were designed to protect visitors, employees, firefighters and infrastructure in the event of

a wildfire. FMPs are reviewed annually and undergo a comprehensive review and update every five

years. Most of the EAs associated with the original FMPs were completed 8-12 years ago. The

original plans emphasize wildfire response and include fuel reduction techniques such as

mechanical and prescribed fire. They were developed at a time when the magnitude of the

hazardous fuels program was not fully developed and do not address hazardous fuels build up

mitigation actions – a critical component of a proactive fuels reduction program. They also do not

address potential environmental impacts of specific fuel reduction prescriptions. That level of detail

was beyond the scope of the original FMPs and EAs and the fire management program has since

evolved to accommodate an increased need to protect NPS and community assets.

 

This EA is needed to evaluate the scope and effects of detailed hazardous fuels removal protocols

and to address a maintenance plan for maintaining adequate defensible space around facilities and

sites. The EA available for public review analyzes the proposed action and alternatives and impacts

on the environment.

 

The EA was completed in accordance with the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act and the

regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.9).

 

The EA comment period will extend 30 days, beginning August 21, 2013 and ending Sept. 20, 2013.

Please post comments to the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) program at

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/AlaskaHFMP. Be aware that comments may be available to the public at

any time. If your comment includes your address, phone number, email address or other personal

identifying information, you may ask the NPS to withhold your personal identifying information from

public view. However, the NPS does not guarantee we will be able to do so. We will always make

submissions available from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves

as representatives of or officials of organizations or businesses. Please send written comments to

the attention of Bud Rice at 240 West 5th Ave, Anchorage, Alaska 99501.

 

The EA has been mailed to the State of Alaska, various federal agencies, affected communities,

area landowners and parties who have expressed an interest in this effort. Others can request a

hard copy or CD-ROM of the EA or download the document from the PEPC web page at

https://parkplanning.nps.gov/HFMPEA

 

Please contact Bud Rice, Environmental Protection Specialist at 907.644.3530,

william_rice@nps.gov or Dan Warthin, Regional Wildland Fire Management Officer at 907.644.3409,

dan_warthin@nps.gov for additional information.



Last updated: April 14, 2015

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