Many forests in the North Yuba watershed are unhealthy. They are overstocked with small trees and brush, and at risk of high-severity wildfire due to fire suppression and historic timber harvesting practices, exacerbated by climate change. As a result, communities and infrastructure within the watershed are at significant risk.
Forests once characterized by large, widely-spaced trees and beneficial, low-to-moderate severity fire are now dominated by non-fire resilient stands of vegetation ranging from dense thickets of small trees and brush to overstocked forests with significant ladder fuels. This greatly increases the likelihood of destructive wildfire causing significant damage to communities and watershed health. In addition, many homes and communities have been built within and near the forests, making it challenging in some locations to protect lives and property from high-severity wildfire and to allow the use of prescribed fire or managed wildfire as a management tool.