OAKHURST – Sierra National Forest officials continue to implement the winter/spring burning program within the Bass Lake Ranger District. Projects will consist of two activities: pile burning, and understory burning.
Prescribed fire is used to remove fuels created during tree mortality, timber harvest, and reforestation. The removal of these fuels provides a benefit by reducing the potential of a wildfire that would cause damage to wildlife habitat, watersheds, and private property.
The pile burning projects are widely dispersed throughout the Bass Lake Ranger District. Many of the piles are located at the higher elevations, with some near populated areas, and may result in a temporary reduction in air quality.
Pile and understory burning is part of an ongoing wildfire defense system – a system that is designed to slow the progression of wildfires while protecting surrounding communities, and allows firefighters a safe area to engage in suppression activities.
Understory burning projects include:
- The Source-Kinsman understory, located south and west of the Kinsman housing area near the San Joaquin drainage east of North Fork.
- The Sugar Pine understory, located north of Oakhurst within the Fresno River drainage.
- The Greys Mountain understory, located northeast of Oakhurst and within the Willow Creek drainage. Burns could take place in the earlier spring.
The Forest Service coordinates all burning activities with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to time the project with favorable weather conditions and smoke dispersion.
Localized smoke impacts may be felt in Mariposa, Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Sugar Pine, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee, Cascadel and North Fork. For regional information about air quality, smoke conditions, and health effects, visit www.valleyair.org or visit www.airnow.gov.
Visitors may see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the burns, and are asked to drive slowly and carefully as they enjoy the Forest. For firefighter and public safety, signs will be posted along roadways where burning is taking place.
(Photo credit Sierra National Forest).