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Reforestation work at French Fire burn site, Sierra Vista Scenic Byway May 2019 (all photos courtesy Y/S RC&DC)

Reforesting The French Fire Burn Scar Along The Scenic Byway

NORTH FORK –  Work is underway on the Eastern Madera Wildfire Reforestation Project – focused on reforesting 350 acres of Sierra National Forest burned in the 2014 French Fire.

The project site is located near Mile High Vista along the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. This particular area was chosen because of the high severity of the wildfire as it burned through.

The French Fire started on July 28, 2014, in the Rock Creek drainage and scorched nearly 14,000 acres before being contained three weeks later.

The restoration project is being managed by the Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council (Y/S RC&DC) in coordination with the Bass Lake Ranger District.

Work began in 2017 and since then steady progress has been made, say Y/S RC&DC coordinators. Site preparation – which includes tree felling, piling, burning and herbicide spraying – has been completed on 171 acres.

Over 58,610 ponderosa pine, sugar pine, and incense cedar seedlings have been planted on 165 acres. Tree planting for 2019 is currently underway and the project is expected to be completed on time in fall 2019.

Reforestation is done in order to improve watershed conditions by restoring severely burned areas to forested conditions, reduce sedimentation and turbidity, and improve water quality for downstream users. It is also aimed at improving habitat by providing stabilization that reduces erosion of stream banks and meadows.

Additionally, reforestation of landscapes provides canopy cover which is beneficial for wildlife, and the reduction in sedimentation benefits public utility infrastructure  including Southern California Edison and PG&E hydroelectric facilities, transmission infrastructure and systems.

Funding for this project has been provided by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, an agency of the State of California under the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) grant cycle and in support of the Sierra Nevada Watershed Improvement Program.

Additional funding has been provided by the Bass Lake Ranger District, the Arbor Day Foundation, and Y/S RC&DC.

The Y/S RC&DC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to natural resource conservation and economic development. The Council service area includes the rural and foothill communities of Fresno, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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