Mountain Area Safety Taskforce
Helping to Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires
Formed in 2002, the Mountain Area Safety Taskforce (MAST) is a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies, private companies and volunteer organizations in San Bernardino and Riverside counties (California) that are working together to help prevent catastrophic wildfires.
This web site is presented as a public service to the people who live, work and play in these mountains and forests to promote public safety and fire prevention.
Thinning Green Vegetation
Having removed more than 1.5 million dead or diseased trees from the mountain regions of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, MAST is now focusing its fire prevention efforts on the strategic removal of green vegetation to protect high-risk areas. This requires thinning brush, chaparral and small trees, which helps eliminate ladder fuels that allow flames to climb upward into the trees. Removing green vegetation in strategic locations also creates fuel breaks to help prevent wildfires from spreading.
Thinning the Forest
MAST also supports Healthy Forest initiatives to restore the vigor of the forest so we can all enjoy this natural resource for generations to come.
To reach this goal, the MAST mission has expanded to include reducing “green fuel” by thinning live trees in densely wooded areas. Although MAST expects to continue removing dead trees through the end of 2008, property owners also are being urged to thin the live trees and vegetation on their property to gain an upper hand on the bark beetle infestation and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires like the Grand Prix and Old fires in 2003.
For more information, see the Healthy Forest section of this web site.
MAST members have significantly reduced the fire hazard in the San Bernardino National Forest and neighboring jurisdictions, removing more than 1.5 million dead, dying or diseased trees, more than half of them on private property.
Dead and dying trees pose an extreme fire danger, and MAST members began removing these trees under state and federal grants, including a $70 million grant from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Participants in the tree removal program include the County of San Bernardino, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the U.S. Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Caltrans, and Southern California Edison.
At the height of the program, Southern California Edison contractors were taking out 650 trees a day. Since 2004, MAST members have removed more than 1 million dead or dying trees, and more are being taken out every day.
However, the fire danger remains HIGH. And the $70 million in funding from the federal government to remove trees from private property is expiring at the end of 2007. To qualify for the removal program, property owners must have their trees marked and registered. For more information, see the Hazardous Tree Abatement section of this web site.
Other MAST Achievements
Working together, we can help prevent catastrophic wildfires.