Los Alamos County Wildfire Mitigation Project
Contact Info

Los Alamos County Wildfire Mitigation and Public Education Project

The proposed mitigation Project would thin trees and shrubs on approximately 114 acres of County lands, and would offer fire hazard mitigation assistance to homeowners.

The purpose of the Project is to:

  • reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire;
  • protect the lives and safety of citizens and firefighters;
  • create defensible space around residential areas and critical facilities; and
  • promote ecosystem health.

The map linked below displays the seven locations where the LAC Fire Department proposes to thin vegetation. All of the areas to be treated are within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and have been prioritized for treatments in the County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

LAC Wildfire Mitigation Project Area

 

Notice of Availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Los Alamos County

Wildfire Mitigation and Public Education Project, New Mexico, HMGP-DR-4199-NM PROJECT #17

Interested persons are hereby notified that Los Alamos County has applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.  FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures that reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster. 

FEMA proposes to provide funding to Los Alamos County for vegetation thinning on approximately 114 acres of County open space lands to reduce the wildfire hazard around adjacent population centers, including residential neighborhoods, two schools, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, recreational trail system, and horse stables. The Proposed Action would include hand and mechanical thinning of trees and shrubs at seven locations, identified as Walnut Bench, Villa Bench, North Loma Linda, Ponderosa Estates Range Road, North Horse Stable Bench, Camino Redondo, and Camino Uva Project. The Proposed Action would be implemented using chainsaws, hand saws, pole saws, and a wood chipper/mulcher.  The timing of treatments would be coordinated with adjacent land owners, user groups, schools, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify the best times for implementing the treatments at each site. Treatments are expected to be completed within two years, once approval is granted and project implementation begins. The Proposed Action would also include a public education component.

A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared to assess the potential impacts of the proposed action and alternatives on the human and natural environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500 – 1508), FEMA’s Instruction 108-1-1 for implementing NEPA, the National Historic Preservation Act, Executive Order 11988, Executive Order 11990, and 44 CFR Part 9. The draft EA evaluates alternatives that provide for compliance with applicable environmental laws.  The alternatives evaluated include (1) no action; (2) the proposed action described above.

This public notice serves as final public notice per 44 CFR Part 9.12(e).  Approximately 0.15 acre of the Villa Bench proposed project area is within the mapped 100-year floodplain.  Fuels reduction will take place in this area to ensure the entire unit sees a complete reduction in wildfire risk and so that the purpose and need is met.  FEMA’s 8-step review process is included in the draft EA. The action will conform to state and local floodplain protection standards and Los Alamos County will coordinate with the local floodplain administrator to obtain any required permits.

The draft EA is available for review below or at Mesa Public Library, 2400 Central Avenue, Los Alamos, NM 87544 and White Rock Branch Library, 10 Sherwood Blvd., White Rock, NM 87547. 

Library Hours from 10am – 9pmMon-Thurs; 10am – 6pm Fri; 10am – 5pm Sat; and 12pm-5pm Sun; from March 30, 2018 to April 30, 2018. An electronic version of the draft EA can be requested from Dorothy Cook, FEMA Region 6, at dorothy.cook@fema.dhs.gov or viewed on FEMA’s website atwww.fema.gov/resource-document-library or the County website at www.LACwildfireproject.us.

The comment period will end 30 days from the initial notice publication date (3/29/2018). Written comments on the draft EA can be mailed, emailed, or faxed to Dorothy Cook, Senior Environmental Specialist, FEMA Region 6, FEMA Region 6, 800 N Loop 288, Denton, TX 76209; Email: dorothy.cook@fema.dhs.gov; or Fax: 940-297-0152. If no substantive comments are received, the draft EA will become final and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will be issued for the project. Substantive comments will be addressed as appropriate in the final documents.

For More Information:

Chief Kelly Sterna, Project Manager
505-662-8301
kelly.sterna@lacnm.us