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    Timber Sales on the Apache-Sitgreaves NFs to Enhance Forest Health and
    Increase Wildfire Resilience near Pinetop-Lakeside

    Katie Speranske
    Acting Deputy Public Affairs Specialist

    SPRINGERVILLE, AZ, October 23, 2020 – The Lakeside Ranger District on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) is conducting several timber harvests to treat national forest system lands bordering the Pinetop-Lakeside community.

    Historically, these ponderosa pine forests were comprised of more diverse groups of trees of varying sizes and ages. They were intermixed with openings in the canopies where grasses, forbs, and new trees would grow. Currently, Forest Service Foresters and Silviculturists are seeing extremely high numbers of trees that are limiting the opportunity for new growth, hindering the sustainability of mature growth, and increasing the risk of extreme wildfire behavior.

    “By reducing fuels to more historical levels we are fostering the recovery of the forests while at the same time reducing the risk of high-severity fires in the Wildland-Urban Interfaces,” said ASNFs Vegetation Staff Officer Randy Fuller.

    “Forest treatments, both mechanical and prescribed burning, are very important tools that we use in order to provide for public safety from uncharacteristic wildfire within our communities,” said Lakeside District Ranger Josh Miller.

    Forest Service timber sale contracts are one of several effective means used to move forests’ health towards their historical conditions. Timber sale contract activities include cutting, skidding, grinding, and hauling of logs.

    The ASNFs awarded 12 timber sales on the Lakeside Ranger District since 2016. These timber sales are in the process of restoring approximately 19,652 forested acres. The timber from these sales not only help to restore our forests to more resilient conditions, they help support the local economy by providing sustainable opportunities for a variety of wood products, like biomass, for electricity generating power plants and pellets for heating our homes.

    Major Projects in Motion

    The Cabin Timber Sale, located north of FS 187 Road in the vicinity of Springer Mountain Drive and Blue Grass Ranch Drive, is currently operating on an expanded 24-hour schedule to accelerate production time and reduce fire risk on 1,275 acres. The operating schedule is set to condense the number of working days spent near these neighborhoods and is expected to last the next two months.

    The Billy Mountain Timber Sale set to restore 3,354 acres, is located between Billy Creek Trailhead, near the Pinetop Post Office, and Phipps Drive, north of downtown Pinetop.

    Both operations are in progress and are expected to complete priority areas bordering private property by the end of fall 2020, pending any delays due to significant winter weather events. Both timber sales will continue to progress through the fall of 2021, but areas will be interior, further removed from the neighboring communities. There are no road closures in effect, but caution is advised when driving along Forest Roads 187 and 182, where most heavy log truck traffic will occur.

    For questions on the Cabin and Billy Mountain Timber Sale, please contact the Lakeside Ranger District Office at 928-368-2100 or visit the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/asnf.

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