Multiple groups are coming together to remove hazardous fuels in the Sierra, to improve the overall health of the forest. Officials say tree removal is even more important, during the extended drought, making the forest more resistant to catastrophic fire.


"We're just trying to bring the fuels down to a level where the forest will support a fire, but only on the ground and not so much in the crown," Ryan Shane, Community Protection Program Coordinator for the Nevada Division of Forestry said.


Smaller and less-healthy Jeffrey Pines are cut down so that larger ones can flourish without competing for limited water.


"You'll have less trees going after the same amount of water," Duane Petite, Carson River Project Manager for the Nature Conservancy said. "So, the remaining trees should be healthier and stronger, more resilient."


Other species of trees are left alone to help withstand other elements.


"They can resist bug infestations, namely the Bark Beetle, and be healthier in the face of all those challenges they face in the environment," Shane said.


Larger trees are used for lumber, with smaller ones used for fire wood. It changes an overgrown forest into a more sparse environment.


"What we're really trying to do is utilize as much wood product to support the treatment of the lands as possible," Shane said.


Officials say thinning the woods could also improve the habitat for wildlife. But it could also affect the water clarity of Clear Creek, that flows into the Carson River.


"You're going to potentially increase your surface runoff in the area, in the watershed to the creek," Jena Huntington, Hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey said. "But you're also, with that, probably going to increase your suspended sediment loads."


To prevent erosion and put nutrients back into the ground, smaller limbs are chipped up and used for mulch. Still, experts say an increase in sediment is still better than the water pollution that would accompany a wildfire.


"That's going to have horrible impacts on water quality in Clear Creek,"  So, anything we can do to lessen the chance with the severity of a fire, really is a water quality issue as well."


Phase One of the forest-thinning project will cost nearly $1 million and is funded by the U.S. Forest Service. Over the next ten years, officials say they plan on treating tens of thousands of acres in the area.