As cooler temperatures arrive in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, fire management staff are preparing for fall prescribed burns.
The parks plan to complete three projects this fall, including a final segment of the Sherman Prescribed Burn in the Giant Forest area (Sequoia), the Park Ridge Prescribed Burn in the Grant Grove area (Kings Canyon), and the final segments of the Cedar Central Prescribed Burn in the Cedar Grove area (Kings Canyon).
Prescribed burn plans are subject to change, based on weather and other factors. As a result, the exact dates that each of these prescribed burns will begin will be announced in subsequent press releases.
Sherman Prescribed Burn
Ignitions are scheduled for three to four consecutive weekdays beginning as early as Tuesday, October 1. Exact dates will be determined by weather.
This 244-acre segment of the Sherman Prescribed Burn is nearly the combined size of the rest of the project, which was treated in July. This final segment is located west of the Generals Highway, about two miles north of the Giant Forest Museum. There are no hiking trails within the segment, so no closures are planned.
We took advantage of a great opportunity to get prescribed burning done in the Giant Forest area this summer. However, we didn’t treat this segment at that time, because we wanted to break up and manage our smoke production so it wasn’t all going into the airshed at once, and also be mindful of impacts to visitors’ experiences in such a busy area of the park. With the final segment treated, we’ll have good buffers of reduced vegetation in place to protect the Giant Forest from destructive wildfires in the future.” (Andrew Cremers, burn boss)
Due to the extremely steep terrain and the absence of trail access to the Sherman burn area, ignitions on this segment will be performed primarily by helicopter to minimize risks to firefighter safety and shorten the overall duration of the project.
On the Generals Highway, single-lane traffic control will be in place adjacent to the project area during ignitions. Moderate smoke impacts are expected in the Giant Forest, at the General Sherman Tree, and in the Lodgepole areas.
At night, smoke may be discernible in the parks’ lower elevations, including Three Rivers.
Visitors can learn more about air quality and smoke here. by visiting www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org.
Get more information on this prescribed burn here.
Controlled burn > Prescribed fire > Prescribed burn: 40 years of fire and its benefits in Sequoia
The parks have been performing prescribed burns in the Giant Forest area since 1979. By working with the area’s historic fire return interval, which is 10 to 16 years, the parks are ensuring a diverse mosaic of fire history, which is key to a healthy ecosystem.
Prescribed burns also promote the regeneration of giant sequoias by creating openings in the canopy, clearing the forest floor, and opening the cones, allowing seeds to disperse.