In October, the U.S. Forest Service proposed a plan to reforest a portion of the land, not within the wilderness area, burned during the Mountain Fire in July 2013. The agency requested comments on the proposal by Oct. 24.
As of Oct. 29, only one comment had been submitted, according to San Jacinto Ranger District Forester Kayanna Warren.
This will be analyzed and included in the packet for the final decision, which is expected before the new year. However, the Forest Service is also awaiting a response from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the request for consultation about potential effects to endangered or threatened species in the area or their critical habitat.
The agency is proposing to plant about 53,000 Jeffrey and Coulter pine seedlings on more than 300 acres. Chaparral occupied much of the other burned area outside the wilderness area. If the proposal is approved, the work will begin during the winter and early spring of 2015, according to Warren.
The Jeffrey and Coulter seedlings will only be planted in areas where they had formerly dominated. The seedlings will come from the Forest Service’s Placerville nursery, which collected seed stock from this elevation in both the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa mountains, Warren said. The project is estimated to cost about $250,000.