USFS news release
Beginning Thursday, July 26, the Inyo National Forest will begin fuels reduction work south of the Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) on 51 acres of Inyo National Forest land. The goal of treatments is to protect human life and property by reducing potential fire severity.
Fuels work will include the mastication; or the mowing of shrubs; to alter the fuels profile and structure which will reduce potential fire severity and create defensible space for firefighters to operate.
The project area begins at the propane tanks near the Sherwin Creek Rd. and generally follows roads and the Meadow Trail Connector South and West, ending immediately to the South of Snowcreek 5 (see map). Work will be conducted using a deck mower to cut manzanita, sagebrush, bitterbrush as well as other woody plants. Fuels reduction will be completed using a mosaic approach which will leave approximately 25% of the shrubs in place to maintain the vegetation’s aesthetic character.
The Meadow Trail Connector is within the project area. In order to reduce the impact on the trail, Inyo National Forest employees are working with the Mammoth Lakes Trail System (MLTS, a TOML organization) to ensure operations are not detrimental to the trail. It is anticipated that a buffer of 30 – 50 feet of un-mowed area will be left in place around the trail. The current trail prism will be cleaned by U.S. Forest Service, MLTS, and Cal Fire crews following mowing operations.
While the forest will attempt to reduce the negative impacts of shrub mowing on aesthetics, temporary impacts will be present. It is anticipated that one to two years following mowing operations, native grasses will rebound and occupy the site. This has occurred in other similar fuel-breaks completed by the Inyo National Forest including the area along Mammoth Creek Rd. (see photo, one- year post treatment) and is anticipated to have a similar result in the current project area.