Forest Service seeks comment on rehabilitation plans for area devastated by Brian Head fire

In this file photo, the Brian Head fire rages near Blue Spring Mountain, Iron County, Utah, June 26, 2017 | Photo by Tracie Sullivan, Cedar City News / St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Forest Service is looking for public comment on plans to further rehabilitate the burn scar left by the devastating Brian Head fire that burned through more than 70,000 acres in Southern Utah last summer.

Perimeter of the Brian Head fire outlined in red | Image courtesy of the Cedar City Ranger District via Google Maps, Cedar City News / St. George News

The Cedar City Ranger District of the Dixie National Forest will be conducting the Brian Head rehabilitation project in the area encompassing the final perimeter of the Brian Head Fire and downstream drainages affected by the fire within Garfield and Iron counties.

The project extends from the western boundary of the district near the town of Brian Head to the eastern boundary of the district and extends from just south of Highway 143 North to Upper Bear Valley.

Project goals

The purpose of the Brian Head Fire rehabilitation project is to improve public health and safety and natural resource conditions impacted by the fire while continuing to promote multiple-use management, according a Forest Service-issued document outlining the project’s proposals.

Among the needs identified in the project proposal include:

  • Repairing and rerouting portions of roads currently degrading watershed conditions within the project area with the goal of improving stream integrity and aquatic habitat.
  • Encouraging growth of vegetation in areas of disturbance.
  • Repair and rehabilitation of habitat, infrastructure and landline boundaries.
  • Repair and reroute portions of trails to improve hydrologic function and the recreation experience.
  • Recover the economic value of forest products in a timely manner, such as timber harvesting.

Read more: Forest Service considers harvesting, selling timber burned in Brian Head fire

Proposed action

The district will perform an environmental assessment on several proposed actions planned for the rehabilitation effort. Proposed activities would begin in spring or summer and include:

  • Reforestation
  • Watershed rehabilitation, including aquatic habitat improvement.
  • Wildlife habitat rehabilitation, including chaining, seeding and pile burning.
  • Land management infrastructure rehabilitation, including hazardous tree removal along existing fence lines and new fence construction.
  • Trail rehabilitation.
  • Road rehabilitation.
  • Fuel reduction.
  • Timber salvage.

Comment

Public comment on the proposed action is open until Jan. 19.

Written comments may be mailed to District Ranger Veronica Magnuson, Cedar City Ranger District, 1789 N. Wedgewood Lane, Cedar City, UT 84721.

Hand-delivered comments may be submitted in person at the above address from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Electronic comments must be submitted as an email message or as a file attachment in plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf) or Word (.doc or .docx) document formats to comments-intermtn-dixie-cedar-city@fs.fed.us with “Brian Head Fire Rehabilitation Project” in the subject line.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • PlanetU January 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    and removing “end of the world” shelters…oh, that’s right they burned to….

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