The Resource Conservation District of Tehama County (RCDTC), Mendocino National Forest, and adjacent landowners have designed a large landscape restoration and fuel reduction project that will reestablish natural fire regimes and stabilize ecological functions. This project began in July of 2020 and coincided with the August Complex Fire. The August Complex ignited on August 16th, 2020 and lasted until November 15th, 2020. Approximately 1,032,648 acres were burned.
The Mendocino Forest Health Improvement Project proposes to improve fire resiliency and restore healthy fire processes through various forest management treatments. This project employs land management strategies to lessen the growing trend of severe and intense fires in the Forest and outlying communities. The anticipated positive impacts as a result of these strategies would improve and benefit multiple components of the Forest, state responsibility lands, and outlying communities including public safety, sustainability, productivity, carbon sequestration, ecosystem processes, and aquatic and wildlife habitat. This project utilizes vegetative fuel reduction strategies such as mastication, thinning, and broadcast burning; biomass utilization including harvesting and removal; and reforestation including selective thinning, ladder fuel removal, burning, and planting appropriate species.
Due to the severity of the August Complex Fire, which is now the largest recorded fire in California history--and which burnt over 90% of the acreage in our project sites--the RCDTC has shifted work from federal land to private land owned by Crane Mills. Over 40,000 acres of Crane Mills timberland was burnt in the August Complex fire. The RCDTC will be assisting Crane Mills with cleanup of non-merchantable timber stands and will be reforesting severely burnt areas by replanting nearly 296,000 trees.