Hi there, I have 20 very wooded acres in Northern California and I am trying to put together my plan of attack for managing them. I have about a 2 acre area completely cleared for garden and future building. The rest is a mix of about 20% dead but still standing pines, 60% living pines, 10% redwood, and 10% other (junipers, small oaks, wester cedar, etc.) The 20% dead trees are probably due to a fire 10-15 years ago. As far as I can tell, the lot has never been logged (nary a stump in sight). The property is a rocky mountain top, so the trees tend to be scrawny (tall, as they are old, but still quite thin). Nonetheless there is plenty of rain here and the trees and brush are very dense, making most of the lot impassible without a hatchet. My goal is to thin but not clear. I like the woods and want to keep most of the lot in a relatively natural state, but what I have today can only be characterized as a fire hazard. My thoughts are as follows: 1. Cut down all the dead trees and haul out any that are already fallen, split 'em up and save anything that's not rotted for firewood. Chip anything that is not suitable for firewood. 2. Cut some of the larger, straighter trees, de-bark them and move them inside to dry for future construction use. 3. Cut down a bunch of the small ones for fence posts. These are the easy calls. The tougher one is what to do with the rest. To reduce the fire risk, I need more open area. I will probably leave a few acres that has a natural rocky firebreak around it as a untouched thicket for wildlife. For the rest, my thought is to simply wander through and, anywhere I find two trees with significantly overlapping branches, cut down the smaller one, until all the trees have space between them. Seems simple enough, although moving all that wood and making trails through the brush to move it certainly won't be easy work. Then of course comes the question - will all this work really help? I am surrounded on all sides by national forest, which of course is never thinned. Fire runs up hill and I'm king of the mountain . A fire may be less likely to start on my land, but if a fire starts out there in the national forest, is having a nice thinned oasis in the middle really going to give me any tangible fire resistance, or is it all just going to burn anyway? I suppose it's mostly a matter of luck. Thanks for any advice!