Public Comment Period Open Until Aug. 25
NORWOOD – With a goal of preventing a catastrophic wildfire within a wildland urban interface near Naturita Canyon, the U.S. Forest Service Norwood Ranger District is seeking public comments on a fuels reduction project that’s proposed include mechanical treatment as well as prescribed burns.
The project would reduce the risk of a large, catastrophic wildfire while improving the number of timber stands in the Naturita Division of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest approximately four miles south of Norwood. According to Norwood District Ranger Judy Schutza, Forest Service officials are suggesting mechanical treatments to eliminate ladder fuels of pinion, juniper and gambel oak underneath ponderosa pine prior to a prescribed burn of the area. Approximately 710 acres of land would be masticated mechanically and approximately 1,360 acres would be burned.
“The main reason we want to do this is to protect private property and improve the National Forest land, wildlife habitat and saw timber,” Schutza said on Tuesday. “The area is entirely inside an urban interface and the project area is less than a mile away from private property.
“What we really want to do is prevent a catastrophic crown fire right here in our local area.”
Schutza said Forest Service officials will make a decision on the project sometime in September. A “best-case” timeline, Schutza said, would be for mechanical treatment to take place the summer of 2015 followed by a prescribed burn sometime in 2016.
“Our long-term goal is to return fire to a more natural role in this ecosystem,” she said.
Schutza said she is attending Wednesday, Aug. 13, meeting of the Norwood Board of Trustees to present the details of the project. A field trip is also being offered on Saturday, Aug. 16, at 10 a.m. at the Norwood Ranger Station.
Details are available on the GMUG website at fs.usda.gov/gmug, or by calling the district office at 970/327-4261. Scoping comments are requested by Aug. 25, 2014. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to P.O. Box 388, Norwood, CO., 81423 or hand delivered to 1150 Forest Street in Norwood.