Upcoming changes in the Nevada Department of Forestry (NDF) as pertain to Lincoln County were presented at the board of county commissioners’ meeting June 3 in Pioche.
Aaron Boyce, southern area region supervisor with the NDF, told the board that in the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, “The Division of Forestry has undergone some audits of late and as a result is now looking more closely at the allocation of crews for free and reduced rate projects. That affects a lot of the work we do here in the county in Caliente, Panaca, Pioche, Alamo, etc.”
The question now, he explained, is “what rate and what services the Forest Service will provide moving forward.”
NDF has a clearly defined mission to provide professional natural resource and wildlife fire management services to Nevada.
Boyce said, “In addition to that, the camp program [like the Honor Camp in Pioche] is legislatively mandated to make annual revenue target.”
He said the free and reduced-rate program which exists in the county is often looked at by the NDF “as sometimes being in conflict with us trying to make that revenue target, especially on years we come up short.”
Beginning in July, Boyce noted, “we are going to reduce by approximately half the number of days that we work in each location.”
A five-day-a-week project will be reduced to just three days a week.
Boyce referenced Caliente, Panaca and Pioche, where the camp has been working a minimum of five days a month for $1,000. Under the new plan the camp will cut back to three days a month at the same $1,000 a month rate. “Anything beyond that will be billed at the full daily rate of about $730. Daily rates are set by the state legislature and can vary from year to year. If the local project … is fuel-reduction related, we are able to give a 30 percent discount.”
Boyce added, “We are being allowed five days a month in the county for community-service-type projects where we do not charge. But we are going to have to look at prioritizing the projects better.”