Blue Rush Restoration Project (SNC 1099)
The Blue Rush Site Preparation and Stand Maintenance Project is increasing public safety and enhancing forest health through fuel treatment and site preparation. The project area is in the Big Creek Watershed, in the High Sierra Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County. When finished, the project will have treated 450 acres of fuels within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) downslope of several communities including Shaver Lake, Cressmans, Pineridge, and Dinkey Creek.
Status: As of December 2020, 350 acres of mechanical and hand treatments were complete. To mitigate the risk of high-intensity wildfire caused by drought and insect-induced tree mortality, trees that were dead and dying were felled, and then removed or piled, and live trees were thinned to reduce forest density. This has created a burn unit that can be used to treat an additional 900 acreages through prescribed fire, with the correct burning conditions and parameters. In conjunction with the Blue Rush fuel breaks that were funded by GGRF and installed in 2018, this project aligns with CAL FIRE fuel breaks to provide coordinated protection to upslope and neighboring communities. Pile burning will likely be used to treat the remaining acreage during the fall of 2021, with the correct burning conditions and parameters.
Benefits: When fully complete, the Blue Rush Site Preparation & Stand Maintenance Project will have reduced the risk of high-intensity wildfire, retained wildlife habitat, and increased the likelihood of sustained carbon sequestration. The project will also have provided protection for the upper watershed of the Kings River, which irrigates over one million acres of farmland and is used for domestic water supplies, water-based recreation, and hydro-power.
Additionally, this project complements a few regional efforts:
The Sierra National Forest’s Blue Rush Project: an initiative to mitigate hazardous fuels & improve forest health through reforestation.
The Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project: a science-based ecological restoration strategy
The Sierra Resilient Landscapes: a project that implements fuels reduction, pest management, biomass utilization, and reforestation