Sunset Rock Prescribed Fire ignited in Sequoia

 

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. June 20, 2015 – The previously scheduled prescribed fire project in the Sunset Rock area of Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park will begin Sunday, June 21, and last for a few days. Weather and air quality conditions permitting, prescribed burning days are planned for June 21 through June 23. Only two days are planned for the actual ignitions. The total acreage expected to be treated is 75 acres.

The intent of the project is to help restore the area to more natural conditions by promoting sustainable growth and habitat for plants and animals. Furthermore, by reducing tree density and reducing ladder fuels, the prescribed burn provides for better protection to Giant Forest from unwanted fires that could potentially burn up to its western edge via the Mable Fork Canyon.

William Basye, fuels management specialist for the parks, stated, “We had to wait until the area was back within prescription in order to get the desired results we’re planning, especially after a thunderstorm came through over a week ago.” He added, “Working with our partners, we are actively monitoring smoke dispersion with local air quality stations to ensure that we’re not adversely impacting air quality and visitors’ experiences.”

Visitors can learn about the air quality forecast for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks by visiting http://go.nps.gov/sekiair or check on regional conditions by visiting www.valleyair.org.

This is not the first time that this area has been treated. The last time was in June 2002 as part of the Sherman Prescribed Burn. As restoration of an area where natural fire was excluded for almost a century, Fire Management staff refer to this as a maintenance burn because it takes multiple treatments to restore the natural landscape.

Impacts to visitors are expected to be minimal with the actual ignition portion of the project planned for early on the first day. We advise visitors to drive slowly through fire operation areas and be aware that smoke may be visible from the Generals Highway. Visitors can also stop by the Giant Forest Museum to find out more information during their visit while the prescribed burn is taking place.

Please visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/797/ for more information and updates when the project starts.

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