In November, MCFSC hosted an interdisciplinary fuels reduction training at the Brooktrails Greenbelt. The week-long event brough experts from around Mendocino County and the greater North Coast to discuss the varying perspectives on conducting effective fuels reduction while minimizing negative environmental impacts. Speakers included Mary Mayeda, NRCS Regional Forester, Dr. Mike Jones, UCCE Forestry Advisor, Kathy McCovey, Cultural & Natural Resource Specialist of the Karuk Tribe, Chris Bennet, local Arborist, and Dr. Jen Riddell, local Botanist, among others. Presentations were delivered to the MCFSC Chipper Crew, staffed by members of the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians and filmed to provide an online resource for new crew members moving forward.
As fuel-reduction funding continues to come down the pipeline, having informed and educated crew members is an essential asset for the MCFSC. Crews that can recognize our common native species and understand their unique traits and fire response can make more appropriate thinning decisions, producing better results and reducing the need for continuous maintenance.
Healthy and well-managed forests of the North Coast have an intrinsic ability to survive and recover from wildfire events. Much of the expert testimony focused on the long-term outlook, asking the crew to think about how our current fuel reduction choices move us closer (or further away) from sustainable forest structure in the future. After years of fire suppression and climate change altering the composition of our forests, vegetation management will continue to be a hot-button conversation and there is no one right answer; however, with this training, MCFSC hopes to provide the tools to make educated management decisions that improve the long-term outlook of vegetation management and continuously improve our resilience in Mendocino County.