BackgroundIn August and September of 2015, four large fires, the Cornet/Windy Ridge, Eldorado, Eagle Complex, and Dry Gulch, burned across portions of the Whitman Ranger District in Baker County. Collectively the fires burned just over 152,500 acres on state and private lands, and lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service. Of the total acres burned, approximately 31%, or 48,725 acres, were on National Forest System managed lands. The district is considering a variety of management opportunities across each of these fire areas including looking at salvage of fire killed trees and removal of hazard trees on or near the impacted Forest Road systems for safety of the public and employees.
Proposed ActionsThe proposed projects will look at both opportunities for salvage logging operations and danger tree removal across the lands managed by the Forest Service and impacted by these four fires. Salvage projects would increase the possibility for economic recovery of fire killed timber and reduce the potential for an insect outbreak. The proposed danger tree removal projects will provide for improved public and employee safety by felling danger trees located along Forest Roads. These roads are considered primary routes for public and administrative access in the fire areas. Felled danger trees may be removed as timber products or left in place depending on the management direction for the areas they are located and the associated environmental effects.
At this time it is anticipated that these projects can be categorically excluded from documentation in an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. A project file will be prepared to document the environmental effects of these projects. Submitting written comments during this scoping period would establish eligibility to object to these projects under 36 CFR 218.5, should an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement be prepared.
How to Participate and Submit CommentsYou are invited to comment on the proposed actions and your comments will help identify issues to be considered in the environmental review. Please submit your written comments by October 16, 2015 so they can be considered in the analysis. Implementation is expected to begin in Fall 2015. Any comments received will be placed in the project file and shall become a matter ofthe public record (36 CFR 215.6 (b) (2)).
Please submit your comments to:
Whitman District Ranger
1550 Dewey Ave, Suite A
Baker City, OR 97814
Those submitting hand-delivered comments may do so during the regular office hours of 7:45 to 4:30 Monday through Friday except legal holidays. Please be sure to include Whitman Fires Danger Tree Removal and Salvage as the subject for your written comments.
Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an email message, rich text format (.rtf), Adobe Portable Document Format (pdf), or Microsoft Word to comments-pacificnorthwest-wallowa-whitman- firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments received, including the names and addresses of those who comment, will be considered part of the public record for these proposals and will be available for public inspection (Authority: 40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22; Forest Service Handbook 1909.15, Section 21).
If you have any questions, additional information can be provided by contacting Melissa Shelley, Environmental Coordinator at (541) 523-1350.