The Needham Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project (Project) aims to scale up wildfire prevention activities through an 696-acre hazardous fuels reduction project located in western Glenn County, California.
Glenn County is in the heart of the Sacramento Valley which is about an hour and a half drive from Sacramento north on Interstate 5; the Coast Range mountains and Mendocino National Forest can be found on the westside and the Sacramento River on the eastside of the county. Main thoroughfares include Interstate 5 which runs north and south and Highway 162 which runs west and east. This Project is positioned south, east of the unincorporated Elk Creek and near the wildland urban interface (WUI) threated communities of Elk Creek, Fruto, and Stonyford (Colusa County); an area identified as a low-income community by the California Air Resources Board's Community Investments census tract. The Project area, a Very High Fire Severity Zone, comprises lands in both the Local Responsibility Area (LRA), State Responsibility Area (SRA) and is adjacent to Federal Responsibility Area (FRA). The number of habitable structures within the project area vicinity is approximately 559.
To ensure this Project achieves CAL FIRE’s Wildfire Prevention Grants Program goals and objectives, it has been carefully designed to treat 696-acres of hazardous fuels on private lands. The hazardous fuels are primarily chamise brush within an oak woodlands. Primarily this Project will use mechanical thinning / mastication and herbicide application treatment prescriptions while ensuring environmental compliance. Through development of the Project, community input and support were acquired by many landowners, local organizations, and local, state and federal government agencies.
As supported by the California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan, Glenn County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Glenn County Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan, and CAL FIRE’s Tehama Glenn Unit Fire Plan, wildfire prevention and hazardous fuels reduction projects are a priority. Implementing this Project will achieve these priorities through vegetation clearance on top of ridges and other natural boundaries to reduce wildfire intensity and rate of spread as well as offer reduction of fuel loading around critical infrastructure to maintain continuity of government and other critical services, in particular the Needham Grade Repeater. Per Glenn County’s Sheriff, “Needham Grade is a critical asset to the Glenn County Sheriff's Office. It supports radio communications for public safety entities serving Glenn County. Sustainment of radio communications is critical to daily operations, as well as disaster response operations to incidents such as wildfire.” In addition, this Project will help reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions in the long term through proactive wildfire prevention activities vs. suppression activities.
In summary, the Needham Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project will help scale up the wildfire prevention activities needed in California through an 696-acre hazardous fuels reduction project, help protect the WUI threated communities of Elk Creek, Fruto, and Stonyford (Colusa County), and focus on increasing the protection of people, structures, and communities with an emphasis on improving public health and safety, all while reducing Greenhouse Gas emissions in the long term. To highlight, this Project will protect critical infrastructure to maintain continuity of government and other critical public safety services, in particular the Needham Grade Repeater. Hand thinning / removal of 148-acres may be considered during a future funding cycle to further improve hazardous fuels reduction in the area.