I see the yellow areas on the map, 'proposed forest health treatment areas'. How do I determine if I'm actually in the yellow area?
Field verification on a parcel by parcel level for residential parcels has not begun yet. Though the grant has been awarded it is not effective yet. Community outreach is targeted for late next Spring. The best way to stay informed is to sign up for our email notifications on the website by clicking here.
How would recreational activities be impacted during operations?
Temporary trail closures and temporary reduction in parking may occur in publicly accessible parts of the project areas. Any trail closures would be posted in advance.
How will treated areas look after operations are complete?
Forest health fuel reduction treatments will remove most understory vegetation, ladder fuels, and downed debris to break up potential wildfire fuels. The treatment areas will resemble an open, park-like setting that will promote a healthy residual forest and support wildlife and native plant species.
Will this project stop a wildfire from entering my community?
Forest health fuel reduction treatment areas included in the project can create opportunities to stop wildfire when weather conditions and fire behavior allow it. The purpose of the forest health fuel reduction project is to selectively thin dense tree stands and underlying brush to lessen the risk of wildfire, to remove diseased trees to improve growing conditions, and enhance the forest’s resilience to wildfires in proximity to high value areas. This project has been developed in collaboration with local fire agencies and the FireSafe Councils to expand existing shaded fuel breaks. Existing and new fuel breaks represent an evolving web of locations that have been treated to reduce wildfire risk, improve forest health and support emergency escape routes for local communities.
Does this project include commercial logging?
No. This project is not a commercial logging project, it is purely focused on forest health fuel reduction work. The project focuses on thinning and removal of understory vegetation and overly dense trees to approximately 8 inches in diameter, rather than harvesting large healthy trees.
How does this project help with water supply?
This project will reduce wildfire risk and fire severity in the Los Gatos Creek watershed that supplies water directly to 100,000 people and to many more in downstream communities. Wildfires can destroy important water infrastructure and render communities uninhabitable for long periods due to a lack of water supply. By promoting a health forest and reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfire, the project will help protect water supplies.
How can ecologically-sensitive vegetation management for fuel reduction help special status species?
Due to past land uses, fire management practices, and disease (such as Sudden Oak Death), reducing fuel loads in certain habitats can make the ecosystem more resilient to wildland fire. The creation and maintenance of new fuel treatment areas and maintenance of existing fuel treatment areas using various treatment methods will enhance two main wildland fire objectives: ecosystem resiliency and fire management.
Collectively, vegetation treatments that reduce fuel loads to achieve these objectives can dramatically reduce the spread and intensity of wildland fire. Ecologically sensitive vegetation management includes prioritizing the treatment of non-native invasive species, leaving tree canopies intact, and providing buffers for special status species.
Will these areas require retreatment?
The forest health fuel reduction treatment areas will need periodic treatment approximately every five to fifteen years. Retreatment will involve thinning and removal of regrowth, reestablishment of buffer areas and removal of recently dead or dying trees.
Why is forest management needed in a natural area?
Sustainable land management can contribute to reducing the negative impacts of multiple human-caused stressors, including climate change, past policies like fire suppression, and the introduction to fire prone non-native invasive species.
How many organizations are involved in the project?
The largest landowners within the project area (San Jose Water, Santa Clara County Parks, and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District) are partnering with the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council with the forestry and fuels resource management firm Auten Resource Consulting to plan this important forest health and fuel reduction project. Additional collaboration with other landowners is ongoing through the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council.
I need assistance with my defensible space, how can I get help?
A part of the community’s role is to prevent wildland fire ignitions and protect private property (e.g. homes). The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council encourages everyone to participate in their own defensible space to harness the power of collective action. FireSafe Council offers Home Ignition Zone inspections (HIZ) for individual homeowners. A trained representative will come to your home and walk your property with you for 60 minutes to review defensible space and home hardening principles and make recommendations for your property with a written report. In addition, each spring, SCCFSC offers chipping services to residents who have created defensible space on their property.
Will the treated areas stop fires?
The objective of vegetation management is to reduce wildland fire risks (e.g. fuelbreaks, defensible space), while also preserving biodiversity and minimizing negative environmental effects.
Vegetation management for fuels reduction slows the spread of fire to allow additional time for responding fire personnel to engage the fire to reduce fire damage and spread, and/or allow residents in the area to evacuate. Projects such as this strive to balance the need to protect human communities with ecologically sensitive vegetation management goals.
Won’t removal of vegetation lead to soil erosion?
The project will leave the upper forest canopy intact so it will continue to capture falling rainfall. Removal and thinning of middle-story ladder fuels and smaller vegetation will leave roots, short-growing surface vegetation (grasses and shrubs) and duff in place to prevent soil erosion. The project will not remove vegetation in riparian areas or other drainage courses. Chipping and grinding wood waste will generate new mulch to treat existing bare areas. The project does not include grading or plowing to remove vegetation. Once the project is complete, participating landowners will monitor treated areas for unauthorized access to prevent new trails or shortcuts.