Fire Management Program and Environmental Assessment (2007)

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In 2005, the National Park Service revised the Fire Management Plan for North Cascades National Park Complex with the purpose of further developing a fire management program that restores and maintains ecosystem processes while minimizing the negative impacts of fire to the public, firefighters, natural and cultural resources, and private property. The Plan and accompanying Environmental Assessment (EA) for this federal action was supported by the 2001 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and replaced the 1991 Wildland Fire Management Plan and the 1995 Stehekin Valley Forest Fuel Reduction/Firewood Management Plan.

The Environmental Assessment for this plan evaluated the following three alternatives:

Alternative 1 (No Action) involved the continuation of forest fuel reduction treatments on 822 acres of the Stehekin valley bottom. Wildland fire use would also have been the preferred option on 93 percent of the Complex, and suppression would have been required on the remaining seven percent.

Alternative 2 involved an expansion in acreage of forest fuel reduction treatments in Stehekin from 822 to 1,209 acres. Additional treatments in Stehekin included thinning along the road corridor to improve escape routes, safety zone thinning, and hazard fuel reduction on private property. Wildland fire use as an option would have been reduced to 86 percent of the Complex, as the Suppression Zone expands surrounding Stehekin to cover 14 percent of the Complex.

Alternative 3 (Preferred Alternative and Environmentally Preferred Alternative) included the same treatments for the Stehekin Valley as Alternative 2. Additionally, prescribed burning in wilderness above both Stehekin and Hozomeen and the re-ignition of previously suppressed fires were proposed. Wildland Fire Use Zone and Suppression Zone acreages would have returned to those outlined in Alternative 1.

On May 17, 2007, the National Park Service concluded the environmental impact analysis process, determining that Alternative 3 would have no significant impacts on the natural and human environment. In turn, the National Park Service identified this alternative as the selected alternative for implementation.

The details of this decision, including a summary of the proposed action and its anticipated impacts to the human environment, are provided in the decision document entitled "Finding of No Significant Impact". This decision document, as well as the full Environmental Assessment, is available for downloading by clicking the link to the left entitled "Document List."

Contact Information

Jack Oelfke | Chief, Natural and Cultural Resources
(360) 854-7310