Sierra National Forest to Reduce the Wildfire Risk to Giant Sequoias in Nelder Grove Historic Area
MADERA COUNTY – The Sierra National Forest announces the implementation of emergency USDA Forest Service Giant Sequoia Emergency Response in the Nelder Grove Historic Area.
The objective of this emergency response is to reduce the hazardous fuels and the wildlife risk that currently threatens the grove of giant sequoia, with work scheduled to begin on August 22, 2022.
Where appropriate, future treatments may include mechanical treatments to remove excessive fuels and prescribed burning. These emergency response actions would accelerate this treatment work by up to several years. Fuel reduction work is expected to continue through the Fall of 2024.
The purpose of this work is to reduce the high fuel accumulations and ladder fuels that make the giant sequoias highly susceptible to severe wildfire and to immediately begin implementation of emergency fuels treatments to address the hazardous fuel buildup affected by multiple events, including drought and subsequent tree mortality beginning as early as 2014 and more currently the January 2021 Mono wind blowdown event.
“The recent Washburn wildfire in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park, east of Wawona, has shown the effectiveness of fuels treatments in and around giant sequoia redwood groves.”
–Burt Stalter, District Fuels Manager, Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest
After safe access is gained to the grove for the crews and public, treatments will include hand-cutting of small trees, piling or lopping and scattering of debris, and pulling duff away from the base of large giant Sequoia trees with a focus on reducing the risk of mortality to monarch Giant Sequoias during a wildfire.
Long-term plans for preserving these iconic giant sequoias and historical features in Nelder Grove will continue as the forest works to complete landscape-scale projects designed to protect them.
The Sierra National Forest works closely with local citizens, governments, tribes, and interested organizations.
“By taking these actions now, we can work to reduce the potential for mortality of the monarch giant sequoias during high severity fire. Fuel treatments from this emergency response will aid in protecting, preserving, and restoring what remains of this historic grove.”
–Jennifer Christie, District Ranger, Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest
Forest visitors should expect travel delays and/or restricted access to or within the Nelder Grove Historic Area for public safety throughout the project timeline. We would like to remind the public to please reduce speed and proceed with caution when traveling in these working areas for your safety.
Know Before You Go: Become familiar with the area that you are visiting. Call the local Forest Service office near the area you will be visiting to check conditions, restrictions, and closures. Due to widespread tree mortality and post-fire conditions, some campgrounds are currently closed. www.fs.usda.gov/sierra
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