Ramsey Fire area to reopen

By Alex MacLean / The Union Democrat

About 1,200 acres of Stanislaus National Forest land burned by the Ramsey Fire in August 2012 are expected to reopen sometime in June, according the U.S. Forest Service.

Stanislaus Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski closed the area on Sept. 7, 2012, because burned trees were deemed a threat to public safety. The Ramsey Fire burned at such high intensity that seemingly healthy trees had in fact suffered root damage, according to the closure order.

The area remained closed to the public while Sierra Pacific Industries contractors completed "salvage logging" last fall to remove hazardous trees scattered across roughly 200 acres of the burn zone, said Calaveras District Ranger Teresa McClung.

"We are sensitive to the fact that people want to get back into these burned areas," McClung said. "The logging is completed and it's as safe as the forest can be, so we'll let people back in as soon as we close out that logging contract."

All roads and trails leading to the burned area have been closed since the fire started. McClung said the Forest Service received complaints from the public only in the first few months after the closure order took effect.

Most of the burn occurred on a steep slope in a canyon of the North Fork Stanislaus River. A trail that runs through is not heavily used for recreation, McClung said.

The Ramsey Fire burned about 2 square-miles of grass and timber off Highway 4 between Cottage Springs and the Caltrans Patch Maintenance Station, about 8 miles east of Dorrington.

It took fire crews 12 days to contain the blaze, at a cost of roughly $4 million.

For the complete story, see the May 21, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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