Sunrise Fire salvage project OK’d

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The Sunrise Fire salvage project has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service to remove dead and dying trees as a result of the wildfire last summer. (Kathleen Woodford/Mineral Independent)

On June 1 the United States Department of Agriculture announced that the acting forest supervisor had signed the Sunrise Fire Salvage Decision Notice.

An Emergency Situation Determination was granted by the chief of the Forest Service on May 31, 2018 to “address hazards threatening human health and safety, mitigate threats to National Forest System lands, and capture commodity value necessary to provide for resource protection in the project area,” the letter stated.

This will allow for post-fire salvage of dead and dying trees on approximately 2,718 acres or 11 percent of the Sunrise Fire, which burned through Mineral County near Superior last summer. The project area is located on both the Superior and Ninemile Ranger Districts about 7 miles southeast of Superior, primarily in the Verde, Sunrise, Meadow, and Quartz Creek drainages.

During the project, selected dead, dying or otherwise damaged trees will be cut and removed from within the harvest units, according to the proposal. In a few areas, live trees may be removed to enhance the resistance of desired larger diameter survivor trees to bark beetles. Unmerchantable dead trees, those that are rotten, checked, or small diameter, will be left, as will some larger trees to provide for wildlife habitat and soil productivity. Work will begin this summer.

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