Park fire season heats up

 

Three Rivers residents and visitors who happened to glance up canyon on Wednesday, May 28, saw a plume of smoke coming from Ash Mountain. National Park Service fire crews at Sequoia conducted the annual hazard-reduction burn to create some defensible space between the Generals Highway and the park housing and administration buildings. 

A second phase of this 25-acre burn occurred at Hospital Rock. The goal here is to remove the tinder-dry vegetation to minimize fire risk that could occur due to a carelessly discarded cigarette, an overheated vehicle, or a spark from a barbecue.

Altogether on the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks fire itinerary for 2014 are nine projects totaling 2,941 acres. It’s rare that all the projected prescribed fires are completed in a season as ignition depends on air quality; local, state, and national fire activity; funding; fuel moisture; weather; and other factors.

Rescheduled from May 27 is the  Bear Hill Prescribed Fire. It is now anticipated that this 149-acre fire in the heart of the Giant Forest will be ignited Sunday, June 1.

Ignitions will take place over the next day or two. Since this area was burned in 2001, fire managers are projecting that this will be a low-intensity fire with limited smoke output.

The area is also surrounded by areas burned over the last decade. This will assist in the management of the burn during this drought year.

A number of trail closures will be in effect within the vicinity of the fire. Park visitor services and facilities will not be affected.

Smoke from this fire could potentially waft down the Kaweah’s Middle Fork canyon with the prevailing breezes during the late night and early morning hours. 

Fallen Goliath— On April 23, a fire was discovered and reported on the Hart Tree Loop Trail, about three miles from the trailhead, in the Redwood Canyon area of Kings Canyon National Park. The fire, which was determined to be human-caused, was burning in a prominent giant sequoia log named the Fallen Goliath.

Due to the interior of the log actively burning, and mountain storms that occurred intermittently over the subsequent weeks that hindered firefighters’ access to the remote area, it has been reported that the log, which has been on the ground since recorded history, will be completely destroyed due to the fire.

The fire remains under investigation. Anyone with information about its cause should call 888-NPS-CRIME.

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