How will the proposal better protect wildlife and communities from the risk of catastrophic wildfire?
The preferred alternative will allow more effective and economically efficient fuels treatments. Treatment under the preferred alternative would be more effective in two respects. First, treatments in the stands actually treated will be more effective by reducing more of the surface and ladder fuels than is currently allowed. Ladder fuels carry ground fires into the crowns of trees creating more damaging wildfires that are much more dangerous and costly to control. Current direction has rigid, often unworkable cut tree diameter limits of 6 inches, 12 inches and 20 inches in certain areas. The preferred alternative allows natural resource professionals (e.g., biologists, foresters, fuels specialists) to determine which fuels to remove, based on site specific conditions. The preferred alternative protects all trees 30 inches in diameter and greater, and requires that 40% of the basal area of the stand be retained in the largest trees, regardless of their size. In practice, this means tha