The project is a continuation of the Turtle Rock Park Biomass Collection site which serves communities in eastern Alpine County. The facility provides a location to collect green waste and biomass that is cleared from private property to create defensible space and thereby reduce wildland fire risk. It operates two times per season, in the spring and fall, for approximately 6 – 8 weeks at a time. There are an estimated 800 houses within this area. Approximately 130 of these utilize the facility to dispose of materials in order to create defensible space on their properties. Annually, an estimated 190 acres are treated with 4,000 to 7,000 yards of biomass collected, processed, and removed for composting, as an effective and environmentally sound alternative to pile-burning.
Biomass removed reduces the risk of wildfire and removes material that could burn in a wildland fire. This reduces wildfire emissions and the contribution of GHGs from fires in the treated areas.
From Brian Peters (Director, Alpine County Community Development): “I’ve lived in the County for 20+ years and the fuels collection at Turtle Rock predates my time. The community here strongly supports having this operation twice per year. In the early years it was a “burn pile” — the accumulated materials were burned by the fire department. Now the material is chipped and hauled to green waste recyclers in the Carson Valley. About 10 years ago due to budget constraints, the Board of Supervisors dropped the operation to once per year. The community lobbied the Board to reinstate and it has been operating twice per year since. It is a very important part of fire hazard reduction and having it encourages individual property owners to do their part, and also helps to convince newcomers to participate as well. It’s been around so long that it has become a normal part of the spring and fall in the county."