OAKHURST – Fire officials on the Sierra National Forest have announced plans to continue the spring underburning program within the Bass Lake Ranger District for approximately 400 acres on the Greys Mountain, Doublegate, Timberloft and Lone Sequoia projects.
These burn projects are concentrated along the Miami Creek watershed from Westfall Station south to Kamook OHV staging area, and in the Moon Rock area north of Bass Lake Vista up to Sivels Mountain along the 6S11 Road (see maps below).
The projects may result in a temporary reduction in air quality in the communities of Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Sugar Pine, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee and surrounding areas.
For the safety of the public, signs will be posted along roadways entering areas where burning is taking place.
Burning is planned for both day and night to help limit visibility impacts from smoke along Highway 41, and may occur during weekend periods as well. Officials expect the work to be completed by early to mid-June depending on weather conditions and resource availability.
Objectives for underburning are to remove fuel accumulations due to tree mortality and timber harvest work along Highway 41, reducing the potential of a wildfire that would cause damage to private property, wildlife habitat and watersheds.
“These burns are within proximity of urban interface areas that are part of an ongoing planned wildfire defense system across the forest, designed to slow the progression of wildfires towards surrounding communities such as Sugar Pine, Fish Camp, Cedar Valley and Oakhurst and allow firefighters a safe area to engage suppression activities such as on the recent Railroad, Oak and Ferguson fires,” say Forest officials. “Recurring treatments are necessary to maintain their effectiveness as well as to promote ecosystem restoration and health objectives.”
The Forest Service coordinates these burning activities with the Mariposa County and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to coincide with favorable weather conditions and smoke dispersion. They also coordinate with Cal Trans and local law enforcement agencies to keep traffic flowing smoothly along Highway 41.
Local residents and visitors to the forest can learn more about air quality and smoke by visiting either www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org and can get traffic status updates along Highway 41 at Roads, Traffic and Travel.
For more information on the planned prescribed burns, contact the Bass Lake Ranger District Office at (559) 877-2218.