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Cal4Wheel submits objections to Creek Fire Restoration Project draft decision

| Rose Winn, Cal4Wheel Natural Resources Consultant | Access Issues

The Creek Fire Restoration project was presented for Scoping and public comment in early 2022. In 2020, the Creek Fire scorched 380,000 acres of Sierra National Forest, equating to 30% of the Sierra NF footprint in Fresno and Madera counties. The fire was exacerbated and quickly spread beyond the scale of normal firefighter response due to overly dense forest caused by decades of restrictions on logging, cattle grazing, prescribed burning, and vegetation management. Within the 380,000 acres that were burned, the fire consumed foothill, mountain, and alpine terrain - turning much of it into a moonscape of thick ash and blackened toothpick remnants of trees that previously featured beautiful forests, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Cal4Wheel submitted comments during the Scoping and Analysis phases of this project in March and September 2022. The original project scope designated a 230,000 acre footprint, thus creating a restoration plan for 60% of the burn scar. Cal4Wheel advocated that Sierra NF should maximize restoration efforts by including a greater volume of acreage within the plan, and, maximize impact by simultaneously conducting projects to reduce future threat of fire by reducing vegetation density and restoring previously closed OHV routes to serve as fuel breaks throughout the terrain.

Unfortunately, Sierra NF caved to pressure from extreme environmentalists and released a revised plan that reduced the total acreage for restoration to a mere 31,976 acres - equating to just 13.8% of the original plan (230,000 acres) and only 8% of the burn scar (380,000 acres). Cal4Wheel submitted objections to the revised plan, citing negligence on the part of Sierra NF to fulfill their responsibility as contracted public land managers to effectively manage the forest for the benefit of the people by actively preserving a healthy landscape and wildlife habitat. Cal4Wheel additionally cited Forest Service infraction of NEPA violations including rigging the Purpose and Need of the project, detrimental social and economic impact, and discrimination of disabled persons due to restrictions of public access for OHV recreation. 

Read the full letter of objections via this link

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