Fuels Reduction Project Underway Near Tahoe City - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Fuels Reduction Project Underway Near Tahoe City

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Courtesy: Nevada Appeal Courtesy: Nevada Appeal
The US Forest Service is using an excavator is fitted with a grinder that clears brush and trees up to eight inches in diameter.  It's also chipping up wood piles from previous projects. The goal is to take out fuels that grow vertically and spread them on the ground.

"It's removing the ladder fuels from underneath the larger trees," Jason Pollard, Harvest Inspector for the US Forest Service said. "So in case there is a fire that comes through here, it will hopefully stay on the ground and not get into the crown and have a crown fire, which is pretty devastating to the forest."

The masticator can clear about three acres a day. But it's also dangerous for anyone that gets near it, acting like a powerful lawn mower that shoots debris in unpredictable directions.

"It can shoot pieces of woody debris up to 300 feet," Pollard said. "So it's just a good idea to stay away from it. If you see one of these things, don't get near it."

A short portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail goes through this project. So hikers are being asked to take an alternate route when work is being done near the trail. That work should take one to three days. Crews are also taking safety precautions.

"We've kind of coordinated with the contractor to have flag people on either side and then we'll be in radio contact to stop the machine and let people go by," Pollard said.

Pollard says this project serves as good defensible space for nearby homes and also goes a long way in firefighter safety.

"It also gives fire fighting crews a head start on it," Pollard said. "It's a place that they can defend a little bit better than an area that hasn't been treated at all."

With fire season upon us, they're also asking all of us to do our part to prevent wildfires.

"It's already hot and dry," Pollard said. "So, if you're out in the woods, just be careful with anything that can make a spark. Just take extra precautions."

The project area covers about 105 acres and crews expect that will take them about a month to complete. Then they'll move on to their next location.

Written by Paul Nelson

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