Fuels Reduction Program

Improving the forest while protecting homes from fire.
A roadside shaded fuel break assures that fires originating from the road aren't able to travel up into the tree canopy, where they easily spread out of control
Hazardous fuels reduction

For two decades the Mattole Restoration Council has worked to restore the Mattole River watershed. The recent fires, and their impacts on the watershed, have highlighted the importance of improving fire safety and the health of our forestlands.

After developing the 2002 Lower Mattole Fire Plan, we realized that today’s forest conditions present significant threats to the Mattole’s health. Past logging practices and poor re-growth have led to stands of dense, young forests, both of which increase wildfire risks. The California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection considers most of the Mattole watershed to be at a very high risk of wildfire.

To address the situation, the Council created shaded fuel breaks along key public and private access roads using public funds. However, we have found that the need for fuels reduction work far outstrips available public resources to conduct it. Therefore, Council will work with private landowners who are willing to make an investment in their own safety to thin forests throughout the Mattole, using the proceeds from thinning byproducts to offset costs.
A century of fire suppression and decades of clear-cut logging have led to dense forests with a very high risk of catastrophic wildfire. Healthy Mattole forests need low-intensity fires to be maintained. The Council helps landowners thin and limb trees around homesteads and along roads to make forests and homes less vulnerable to severe wildfire. The Council also works with the Lower Mattole and Southern Humboldt Fire Safe Councils on fire preparedness and roadside shaded fuel breaks. As the forest matures and this work becomes more widespread, fire may someday be safely returned to the watershed.
Are you concerned about keeping yourself and your family safe from wildfire? The Mattole Restoration Council has a program to help landowners clear limbs, brush, and dense stands of trees. Please contact us to get started. The cost share program is currently full, however there is a waiting list.