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Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire

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avatar Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire
April 08, 2008 12:42PM
The National Park Service announces plans to conduct a 2000-acre prescribed fire near the community of Wawona.

Weather and air quality permitting, this burn is planned to begin April 9. It is estimated this project will take one to two weeks to complete. It is to be burned in three units. Unit I is 737 acres. It is bounded to Northwest by the Jack fire, west to Highway 41, and south, along the Chilnualna Falls Road. The prime benefit of this burn is to enhance defensible space, providing important fire protection for the community of Wawona. Fire managers want to take advantage of last fall’s Jack fire and last spring’s prescribed fire near the community. Fire personnel will utilize these burned areas as barriers to fire spreading north and east of the project area. It will also burn through recent fuel treatments, including thinning and pile burning, in addition to recent prescribed fires.

These recent projects will increase the margin of safety for firefighters by reducing fire intensity along the project boundary. The burn units are composed of grass, brush, pine, oak and other mixed conifers. Prescribed fire is designed to thin forests and reduce unnatural fuel loads in areas that are in close proximity to public and private structures as well as visitor use areas. Fire helps recycle nutrients to the soil which aids the sprouting and re-growth of plants, shrubs, and trees, as well as create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals.

The spring offers the best opportunity to conduct this particular burn due to the Southwest exposure. Burning at this time of the year takes advantage of prevailing Southwest winds to mix, lift and disperse the smoke production. Park staff will monitor smoke on a consistent daily basis. However, smoky conditions may exist for the duration of this project, particularly in the morning, and continue for several days.

Smoke impacts to the roadway may occur. Drivers should use caution and abide by posted speed limits. Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions to minimize smoke impacts. People with respiratory problems should use caution when exerting themselves in smoky areas.

For the safety of the public and for firefighters, the Alder Creek trail will be closed until this prescribed fire is complete.

For further info: Prescribed Fire Office: (209)375-9574 or 375-9576

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