NPS prescribed burns: The tentative 2020 fire lineup

Michael Theune, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, has a passion for fire. And like most National Park Service fire personnel, Theune prefers prescribed burns over wildfire.

Theune says he is excited about 2020. Excited now because he can reveal the parks’ plans to treat more than 3,000 acres of national park land. NPS prescribed burns

The 2020 strategy, Theune said, includes the largest burn (1,000 acres) in the Deer Creek drainage of the Mineral King area. If you stop along the Mineral King Road just past Atwell Mill, and look across to the south side of the East Fork, that’s the Deer Creek prescribed fire burn block.

Theune said this project is critical because “broadcast burning” of that area adds to some existing fire history. In addition to the Deer Creek burn, fire treatments are also planned for Cedar Grove, Grant Grove, Lost Grove, Giant Forest, and all the usual front-country locales that are burned annually like the foothills locations of Hospital Rock and Ash Mountain. Some of these treatments include mechanical clearing too. NPS prescribed burns

Among the lessons fire managers have learned in the past few seasons is that the number of human-caused fires remains a constant while there has been significantly less lightning-caused fires. Less wildfires, Theune reported, present more opportunities to complete prescribed projects “on our terms, our time.” NPS prescribed burns

When and where these prescribed fires will be ignited will depend on the “prescription” of weather, air quality, and other factors.

NPS prescribed burns
Sherman Prescribed Burn on July 12, 2019. 

 

 

 

 

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