MOUNTAIN COMMUNITIES — After a temporary halt prompted by COVID-19, the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region is “moving forward with prescribed fire operations as conditions and resources permit,” according to a press release issued Friday by the agency.
Previously, the region had postponed prescribed fires to reduce potential smoke impacts to communities while public health officials considered the interactions of smoke with COVID-19 effects — “and to ensure our emergency response resources were putting into place proper procedures to mitigate COVID-19 risks,” the release stated.
“To date we have accomplished a lot of important fuels reduction projects this year with our partners to protect communities and reduce the risks of catastrophic wildland fires,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore. “We will continue to prioritize the health and safety of communities and firefighters during this global and national emergency, and will also conduct prescribed fire where feasible as an important tool to protect communities and natural resources as we prepare for the upcoming peak fire season.”
“Prescribed fire is an important tool in the protection of communities and forests from large scale wildfire,” Moore added. “Continuing our service to you while doing our part to address the COVID-19 pandemic is our priority.”
The Forest Service manages 18 national forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, which encompasses over 20 million acres across California, and assists state and private forest landowners in California, Hawaii and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. National forests supply 50 percent of the water in California and form the watershed of most major aqueducts and more than 2,400 reservoirs throughout the state.
For current forest information, please call your local Sierra National Forest Office, Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email SM.FS.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bass Lake Ranger District Office: 559-877-2218
High Sierra Ranger district Office: 559-855-5355
Supervisors Office: 559-297-0706
Follow the Forest Service at www.fs.usda.gov/sierra, Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SierraNF, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/Sierra_NF