The Fire and Fuels Management Program at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks announced this week the planned prescribed burns and mechanical treatments for 2018. Sequoia-Kings Canyon mechanical fuels treatments, prescribed burns, and lightning-caused wildfires managed for multiple objectives all play a role in protecting highly valued resources and assets.
A summary of 2017— During the 2017 fire season, there were 19 wildfires in the parks, eleven human-caused and eight lightning-caused. By the end of the year, 32 acres burned from wildland fires.
Firefighters and fire personnel additionally responded to seven mutual-aid fire requests on neighboring lands, including the Dinely Fire in Three Rivers, and supported 76 in-park search-and-rescues. Furthermore, fire staff traveled to 70 off-park fires and incidents, including Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“Last year no single unwanted wildfire reached over 25 acres in the parks yet 658 acres of prescribed burning and mechanical thinning were completed,” said John Ziegler, acting Fire Management Officer. “Our continued proactive approach to fuels management not only works toward meeting the goals of the Secretary of the Interior, but ensures our parks are more resilient to the effects of drought and climate change for future generations.”
Each year, managers prepare an Annual Fuels Treatment Plan that lists all the approved prescribed burns and mechanical fuel reduction projects that will help the parks accomplish goals. In all, there are eight planned projects totaling over 1,800 acres. In addition, 119 acres will be focused on mechanical thinning treatments to reduce hazardous fuel build up.
April-May: Cedar Grove, 40 acres; Marble Fork near the Sherman Tree, 440 acres.
May-June: Ash Mountain, 15 acres.
Summer: Grant Grove at Big Stump (mechanical), 80 acres; Marble Fork at Lodgepole/Wuksachi (mechanical), 39 acres.
Fall: Grant Grove in the Park Ridge area, 562 acres; North Fork at Lost Grove, 669 acres.
When visiting the parks, be aware that fire and smoke can be present at any time. Since the execution of burns depends on air quality, local fire activity, fuel moisture, and weather, the times and dates listed are estimates only.