Land Trust of Napa County recently completed a shaded fuel break amid forest on its Aetna Springs Preserve to help with coming fire seasons.
Located northeast of Calistoga, the Aetna Springs Preserve is 320 acres. It includes one of the most heavily forested sections of Aetna Springs Road running 1.6 miles through the preserve.
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This road served as a key access point and line of defense for firefighters during the 2020 LNU Lighting Complex and Glass Fires. The project creates a firebreak by thinning the forest for 100 feet on each side of the road, a Land Trust press release said.
“We’ve worked with Cal Fire and Napa County Fire toward several similar projects and are pleased that we were able to initiate and complete this project during a window of opportunity in early 2022,” said Mike Palladini, the Land Trust Stewardship program manager.
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A shaded fuel break reduces the amount of vegetation in a forested area to help reduce fire severity and slow the spread of wildfire, the press release said. It also helps forest health.
One key reason the Land Trust acquired the Aetna Springs Preserve land in 2020 is its biological diversity, Land Trust CEO Doug Parker said in the release.
"The tree diversity was being threatened by an increasing density of small Douglas fir trees that were competing with the other trees for resources," he said.
The project is costing $110,000, with significant help from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the main funder, the release said.
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