Prescribed burn to be ignited in Giant Forest

Young sequoia seedlings emerge from a cone that was in contact with fire. Giant sequoias rely on fire to release most seeds from their cones, to expose bare mineral soil for seedlings to take root, to recycle nutrients into the soil, and to open the forest canopy so sunlight can reach young seedlings. A natural fire cycle also thins competing species such as shade-tolerant white fir and incense cedar to provide suitable conditions for sequoia growth.

July 4, 2019 — Following consultations with park leadership and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, a start date has been established for the upcoming Sherman Prescribed Burn in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park. Ignitions are scheduled to begin the morning of Monday, July 8, and continue for as long as five days, depending upon conditions.
The 245-acre Sherman Prescribed Burn unit is located roughly half of a mile northeast of the Giant Forest Museum and consists of four segments on both sides of the Generals Highway. Atmospheric conditions may play a role in determining acreage to be burned each day or the number of days of ignitions. Access to the General Sherman Tree will not be limited by the burn.

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“Prescribed burns are of critical importance to effective land management,” says Kelly Singer, Sequoia National Park fire management officer. “In California, it is not a matter of if an area will burn, but of when it will burn. Prescribed burns allow fire managers to manage risk by choosing the timing.”
Visitors to the area on ignition days should expect 30-minute traffic delays related to the burn, as well as moderate smoke impacts in the Giant Forest, General Sherman Tree, and Lodgepole areas. At night, smoke may be discernible in Sequoia’s lower elevations and in Three Rivers. 
A few trails that enter the burn area, including the Congress Trail, will be closed during ignitions and the burn-down period and will be clearly marked. Many other trails in the area that offer a comparable experience will be open without restriction.
Information on this prescribed burn will be posted here

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