YOSEMITE — Yosemite National Park is preparing for two prescribed burns in the next week, and are expressing their gratitude to the local Firewise communities who support the use of prescribed fire.
“Given the long summer of wildfires this year, the park appreciates your understanding that prescribed fires also have a place on our landscapes during the fall, winter, and spring seasons,” say park officials. “Prescribed fire is a very important tool for reducing excessive fuel build up near our communities in order to reduce severity of future fires.”
Yosemite National Park fire managers are planning two prescribed fires with planned ignitions starting on Saturday, Oct. 14, in the Mariposa Grove, weather conditions permitting, and continuing in Soupbowl for the week of Oct. 15. The amount of acres to be considered is based on air quality the day of planned ignition.
These are the prescribed fires outline in a statement released today by Yosemite Fire Managers –
This project includes two small burn units that total 84 acres. Burning in the Mariposa Grove is a continuous process; the targeted areas have had 1-3 prescribed fires in the past 30 years. Continued burning is required to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem.
Fire produces the optimum conditions for Giant Sequoia regeneration. Fire not only removes the accumulated layers of dead woody debris exposing nutrient rich mineral soil, but is needed to dry the cones and allow the seeds to shed.
In addition, by reducing the number of trees and undergrowth, wildfire opens up the forest canopy and reduces shade-tolerant competition.
The Mariposa Grove is still closed for restoration which provides fire managers the opportunity to conduct prescribed fire.
Two-to-three land segments ranging from 103 acres to 174 acres are being considered for a prescribed burn in the Unit 26 Soupbowl B project area along the Wawona Road (Highway 41 corridor).
The primary objective is to reduce hazardous vegetation (fuel) around the Wildland Urban Interface community of Wawona and park infrastructure at the South Entrance.
Prescribed fire will help create a continuous fuel break by linking other recent wildfire areas with reduced fuels, mechanical thinning projects, and previous prescribed fires. This project will also reduce the threat of wildfires originating along Highway 41 that could adversely impact the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Park employees, community members, and visitors can expect to see crews from various federal and state agencies working along the Highway 41 corridor doing prescribed fire preparation and burn operations.
Traffic control will be in place during burn operations and delays should be short. Please use caution when entering and exiting for firefighter safety.
Smoke will be present during prescribed fire and in the Wawona area. Fire managers are working with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District (MCAPD) to time the projects to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions. Smoke, affecting health, is always a consideration in the decision to schedule prescribed fires.
A smoke management plan has been submitted to the MCAPCD, and a burn permit has been issued for both burn units. A smoke monitor will be placed in nearby communities to monitor smoke.
High pressure will slowly build over the region for the next few days. A slow warming and drying trend will continue with winds remaining mainly terrain driven. By Friday easterly winds will develop resulting in further drying.