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Happy Camp, Scott Valley/Salmon River salvage logging, by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor


In speaking with Happy Camp District Ranger Ken Harris and Scott Valley/Salmon River Ranger Ray Haupt I discussed whther these were "good" fires. They said that they started out slow moving and on the ground, but weather would change and the inversion would lift and they would have hot crown fires with big expansions. A few have been stand replacing. This has ebbed and flowed with the later being more the case of late because of the fuel moisture drying up. They also burned in areas that had burned before which had not been salvaged and had dead trees and snags  - The Dillon Fire of 1994, the burned out area of 1987 where the Panther fire started, the 1999 Megram fire, the Salmon River Complex in 2002, etc.

In addition, fires in the Salmon River consumed parts of the Meteor Timber Sale – a large thinning project successfully halted in court in 2006 by environmentalists because the work would be done in “old growth forest.”  Northern spotted owl habitat has been destroyed by these fires. The Eddy LSR poroject in an nearby area has been worked on for two years already and is supposed to thin around LSRs to protect spotted owl habitat from fire with a treated buffer. In addition, this winter, rains may cause erosion from the burned out forests that could affect critical salmon spawning habitat and kill emerging Chinook and threatened coho salmon. This year’s fires have also consumed most of three recently approved thinning projects on the Klamath National Forest which were intended to reduce the severity of fire. These were scheduled to begin this summer, apparently a year too late.


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