The Lake County All Lands Restoration Initiative Prescribed Fire Planning project area will focus on the North Warner Landscape and the Thomas Creek Landscape project areas located adjacent to each other in Lake County. These two project areas will cover 175,159 acres of private land near the communities of Lakeview and Valley Falls. High concentrations of old legacy ponderosa pine forests and habitat for priority species are abundant within each project area. These landscape scale projects are tied directly to the Fremont-Winema NF's Crooked Mud Honey and Thomas Creek Integrated Landscape Restoration Projects, covering a total of 154,000 acres.
Resulting from over a century of fire suppression, the forests of this region have increased in density, lost diversity, and have altered the structure and hydrologic function of watersheds. The need is to develop a short- and long-term strategy for the location and frequency of prescribed fire that would maintain the investment in thinning treatments and re-establish the historical fire regime (frequent, low-mixed severity fire), while meeting private and USFS land management objectives.
Complete the planning for prescribed burning for private landowners including unit layout, identification of control lines, necessary agreements, burn plans, opportunities to burn with adjacent federal agencies, and other protocols associated with the analysis implementation of prescribed fire. Assist landowners with understanding permitting and liability constraints. Engage with the private landowners to increase public knowledge and understanding of dry forest restoration principles and restoration techniques, while building public support for increased use of fire as an essential restoration tool through outreach, engagement, and applied fire.
Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Department of Forestry, Fremont-Winema National Forest, Oregon State University Forestry Ext., and private landowners within the project areas.
Many meetings have taken place to identify the next steps required to achieve our goals and objectives. A workshop for the North Warner landowners took place in February 2022 and many more workshops including live demonstrations of prescribed fire are being planned now. WE have identified several private landowners that will be involved in the exploration of designing a prescribed burn template or "how to" document. We will be creating burn plans throughout the winter with hopes to implement prescribed fire via our USFS RAC grant in the spring and/or fall of 2023.