The flower on a Jeffrey pine, the species being planted in this project. Credit: U.S. Forest Service
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Project Name:
Airport Fire Planting & Public Outreach

Alpine County, California

Key Activities:

  • Planting 25,000 Jeffrey pine seedlings across 81 acres
  • Restoring a popular recreation area and campground
  • Reforesting areas affected by a 2011 wildfire

Project Description:
American Forests and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are reforesting 51 acres of Alpine County, Calif., with 25,000 Jeffrey pine seedlings to restore access to Indian Creek Reservoir and Campground, a popular recreation area affected by a 2011 wildfire.

Why This Project:
An illegal campfire in July 2011 sparked the Airport Fire, which burned across 81 acres near Markleeville, Calif. The fire killed 95 percent of the area’s trees, affecting the Indian Creek Reservoir and Campground and nearby Alpine County Airport.

This area was also affected by a 1983 fire, which left an 18,000-acre burn scar on the land adjacent to the Airport Fire. This project is planting approximately 250 Jeffrey pine seedlings per acre to replace the pinyon and Jeffrey pine lost in the fire and to help restore this popular recreation area and ecosystem.

Why Jeffrey Pine:
Jeffrey pine is predominantly found along the West Coast, particularly in California, southwest Oregon and western Nevada. A slow-growing, long-lived conifer, Jeffrey pine is considered a fire-resistant species because of its thick bark, high-moisture content and protected buds, among other factors. Even as a seedling or young tree, the pine is fire-resistant due to the early development of its insulating bark. Jeffrey pine also actually relies on low-intensity fires to clear understory to help expose soil for seed propagation.

The project’s managers anticipate that pinyon pine will self-seed in the coming years, so that the combination of the planting of Jeffrey pine and self-seeding of pinyon pine will restore canopy diversity in the future.

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