Forest stewardship plan & shaded fuel break installation on Shaw Island

In early 2022, our foresters prepared a stewardship plan for a landowner on Shaw with several parcels (a total of about 80 acres) that include a variety of forest types and unique trees, from a small grove of quaking aspens to dry Douglas-fir forest to the biggest yew we’ve seen in the San Juans. Work included stand delineation, forest inventory, establishing several permanent plots for long-term monitoring, and providing short- and long-term recommendations for ecological forest management.

Our recommendations included the installation of shaded fuel breaks along key roads and driveways. Shaded fuel breaks make use of existing fuel-free or low-fuel surfaces (roads and trails) to to create a fuel and vegetation arrangement that will help to reduce the intensity and rate of spread if a wildfire occurs. Fuel breaks are typically installed within 20 to 50 feet of each side of a road or trail. Canopy cover from larger trees is maintained while small conifers and brushy fuels (oceanspray, roses, and other shrub species) are removed to reduce ladder fuels and lower branches are pruned to prevent fire from moving from the ground into upper branches.

In December of 2022, our crew installed a shaded fuel break along about 0.5 miles of road. Work included flail mowing, hand cutting, and processing slash with our tracked chipper.