Wildfire mitigation projects to begin this summer at Huddart and Wunderlich parks

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This summer, work is set to begin on a three-year effort aiming to reduce wildfire risks and improve forest health in 218 acres of Huddart Park and 184 acres of Wunderlich Park, according to San Mateo County Parks.

“Experienced work crews will thin forest floor vegetation and remove trees that are dead, diseased, and those up to 8 inches in diameter, to reduce fire fuel,” Parks officials said. “Tall, dense brush will also be cleared along park boundaries, fire roads and residential roads which is key in maintaining community evacuation routes, supporting emergency response and fire-fighting activities.”

Expecting parkgoers to be surprised at thinning that will occur, San Mateo County Parks and the San Mateo Resource Conservation District is hosting virtual public meetings to educate people about the project, the first of which is planned for April 8.

The project is being funded by a portion of $5.3 million in Cal Fire grants to fund a regional effort “to reduce wildfire fuel loads over 968 acres of forest and to reforest 80 acres of private and public lands across the Santa Cruz Mountains,” Parks officials said. Cal Fire awarded 17 grants, funded via the state’s cap-and-trade program, for large scale projects that restore and maintain healthy forests throughout California.

Invasive species, Sudden Oak Death and drought can create “overly dense forests” and “a significant amount of fire fuel,” San Mateo County Parks Director Nicholas Calderon said in a statement Tuesday.

Wildfire mitigation projects are occurring in other County areas not managed by San Mateo County Parks, which encompasses over 17,000 acres As Climate reported last week, about 775 acres within the 23,000-acre San Francisco Peninsula Watershed are slated for prescribed burning. The watershed is managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

Photo courtesy of San Mateo County Parks