BLM seeks input on Castle Valley fire mitigation plan

The Bureau of Land Management seeks comments on an environmental assessment analyzing a proposal to treat vegetation and fuels as part of a wildfire mitigation project near Castle Valley. The proposal covers approximately 1,400 acres of fuel breaks within a larger 7,500-acre planning and analysis area, according to a statement from the BLM.

The BLM has worked extensively with partners, including the community of Castle Valley, private landowners, county, state, and federal agencies, to identify concerns and support community efforts to be fire-wise. Based on community input, the methods proposed include thinning trees, lopping and scattering slash, prescribed burning of piles, mowing cheatgrass, and seeding where necessary. They do not include heavy equipment or herbicides, according to the BLM.

The proposed treatments are part of a larger national wildfire reduction strategy guided by the president’s Executive Order (E.O.) 13855 – Promoting Active Management of America’s Forests, Rangelands, and Other Federal Lands to Improve Conditions and Reduce Wildfire Risk, as well as Secretarial Order (S.O.) 3372 – Reducing Wildfire Risks on Department of the Interior Land through Active Management. The two orders direct the BLM and other Interior and Department of Agriculture agencies to implement policies to improve forest and rangeland management practices by reducing hazardous fuel loads, mitigating fire risk and ensuring the safety and stability of local communities through active management on forests and rangelands according to the BLM.

The proposed treatments are designed to reduce hazardous fuels and create more defensible space near Castle Valley. Developed by experienced range management and wildfire experts, the proposed treatments are expected to help create a more fire-resilient landscape and enhance the ability to fight wildfire in the area. Alternatives considered and potential impacts to various resources are discussed in the EA.

The EA, associated map, and additional information are available for review and comment on the BLM’s ePlanning project webpage at: https://bit.ly/2UbfuS3. Comments must be submitted by June 22.

Comments may be submitted directly through the ePlanning website or by letter: From the ePlanning website, click on the “Comment on Document” button and follow instructions for submitting comments. They can also be mailed to:

Bureau of Land Management
Attention: Joshua Relph
82 East Dogwood
Moab, UT 84532

The BLM seeks comments that provide additional facts or information, suggest corrections, and/or specifically address the proposal. Please be aware your entire comment – including personal identifying information – might be made publicly available.

For additional information about this proposal, please contact Jason Kirks, fuels manager, at 435-259-2100.