Feather River Forest Health 35/45 Tour

BCFSC Program Manager Chad Porter addresses the group

As we drive into the foothills east of Oroville, we are met with the familiar rolling yellow-gold hills of Northern California. The forest starts to encroach as we go, and our caravan of vehicles comes to a stop along Forbestown road. We’re on tour: the Feather River Forest Health 35/45 Tour. This morning hosts a special group of community members, BCFSC staff and partners who have all assembled to take a peek at recent fuels reduction work. It’s this type of work that’s helped make several local communities safer from wildfires. Three stops. Half a day. And an all-access pass to chat with BCFSC staff who’ve overseen the progress.


But this project isn’t exactly new– the ’35/45′ project dates back years, to when California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency due to wildfires. His decree allowed several (exactly 35) wildfire mitigation projects across the state to be fast-tracked in 45 days. Fast forward to today: BCFSC Program Manager Chad Porter, Assistant Director of Forest Health Katie Battaglia, and Program Manager Sarah Jo McDowell are all involved with various aspects of this projects success.
Back on the ground near Forbestown and Hurleton roads, we see a nice shaded forest on a rather steep slope. The ground is clear– no thick underbrush or other ‘ladder fuels’ which could endanger the dozens of healthy trees within sight. As part of the ’35/45′ project, this entire area has recently been masticated; a process that essentially uses a small chewing machine moves through underbrush, leaving medium and large trees alone. It’s a safer zone now, both for the thousands of trees and the hundreds of people who live nearby. Later on in the year, a herd of goats will graze the same area to finish the job.