Special to The Ely Times

The Forest Service Ely Ranger District is continuing to expand their vegetation treatments on Ward Mountain and will be conducting hazard fuels reduction with heavy equipment from mid-August through the end of 2015.  The Forest Service first started implementing wildland urban interface projects on the northeast side of Ward Mountain in 2009. The goal of this project is to provide some continuity between treatments performed by the BLM years ago on the lower benches of Ward Mountain and provide wildland fire protection to residents around Ward Mountain.

In the event of a catastrophic wildfire, the altered vegetation will provide a zone of protection for landowners as well establish areas for fire suppression crews to work. The work is being performed by heavy equipment specially designed to work in forested environments that mulch trees down to ground level. The work will be south of Iceplant Canyon and will include 546 acres that will join into previous years treatments performed by the Forest Service. Treatment will start mid-August and is expected to continue through the bulk of the calendar year.

Residents and public land users should be aware of the dangers of approaching these machines as they perform their work due to the force at which wood chips and debris are expelled from the machine. Operators have limited visibility at the sides and behind these machines and debris can travel in excess of 300 feet so members of the public should never approach these machines while working.

The Forest Service may enact temporary road and trail closures in work areas in order to ensure additional public protection. Other fuels reduction and wildlife habitat work is also being performed on the west side of Ward Mountain by crews with chainsaws as well as in other mountain ranges administered by the Forest Service.

If you have questions about fuels reduction work or would like to see a map of this project please direct your inquiries to Forest Service fuels specialists Carol Carlock or Jimmy Flanagan at the Ely Ranger District 775-289-3031.