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Re: Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011

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avatar Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011
July 11, 2011 06:47PM
Hodgdon Prescribed Fire: Approximate El. 5,000’, Tuolumne Co. This collaborative prescribed fire project, with the Stanislaus National Forest, began at 7AM July 10, 2011. Approximately 150 acres was treated. The primary objective of this 500 acre project is Wildland Urban Interface protection to the community of Hodgdon Meadows and other Park infrastructure. Extensive collaboration and cooperation was conducted by the Park and Forest to conduct this project. It had been delayed through the spring due to high fuel moistures and record breaking snow pack. The predicted cooler temperatures and southwest transport winds favored smoke dispersion throughout the project today. Much of the interior of the project has no recorded fire history. Approximately 70 firefighters are assigned to this fire. It is predicted by fire managers that two additional days of “burn-down” will be required. Firefighters were assisted by Yosemite’s Traffic division, assisting drivers by escorts through smoke. The smoke column will be visible throughout the park and from local locations outside the park. The Tuolumne Co APCD has issued the park a burn permit to conduct the prescribed fire. Smoke monitors have been deployed in smoke sensitive areas determined by Yosemite’s Air Quality manager and Tuolumne County APCD.
Bald: (37 50.823x119 47.434, approximate el. 6,200’, Tuolumne Co.). The fire was declared contained at 2 PM, June 29 at 210 acres. Firefighters will continue to monitor this fire. Many fires have occurred in this area over the years due to lightning; the largest being the 1996 Ackerson Fire. That fire burned over 60 thousand acres in the Park. Light Smoke from the Bald Fire may continue to be observed from the Tioga Rd., west of White Wolf, and along the Evergreen Rd., near Ackerson Meadow, and in locations along Highway 120 into the park from Buck Meadows and Groveland.

Cottonwood: (37.9043x119.8024, 5,000’ el., Tuolumne Co.) This fire was found on June 6, 2011, after a thunderstorm of June 5. The fire is in patrol status, and will be monitored on a regular basis.

For additional Information: If you would like to be included on the fire interest email list, please contact Gary Wuchner at the below numbers or email address. Yosemite Fire Information and Education Office: Gary_Wuchner@nps.gov - (209) 375-9574 or 372-0480 Yosemite Fire Management Website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/current_fire.htm
avatar Re: Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011
July 11, 2011 09:27PM
Yeah, I saw the Hodgon fire on the way out today. Still smoldering right outside the gates (and might I add that nothing adds to the expectation of beauty as you drive into the park like seeing smoldering burns at the entrance to the park) and it looked like it was still going pretty strong further out. I wanted to get a pic of it from Hwy 120, but there wasn't a clear shot from any legitimate place to park.
Re: Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011
July 12, 2011 02:06PM
I didn't read the advisory information, but the workers were falling trees at 9:30PM, 10PM, 12AM, 1:30AM, and 3:15AM. I know this because I wake up about 317 times each night, any time I camp. The trees must have been very nearby; my campsite was right next to the entrance booth @ Hodgdon (#84). I didn't mind the sound, though, as it was captivating like the sound of a Yosemite rockfall. One of the trees even shook the ground beneath me. I mean it SHOOK the ground. Very awesome.
avatar Re: Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011
July 14, 2011 08:40AM
We went to Yosemite yesterday - July 13th to hike to North Dome. The smoke started to become obvious around Don Pedro reservoir and became thicker and thicker as we approached the park on Hwy 120 at 8 am. Just before the entry station we were actually coughing in our car it was so thick, like ground fog. Fortunately it cleared up right after the entry station.

I'm not a fan of these prescribed burns. I live in the middle of Calaveras County and I am an amateur astronomer/astrophotographer. Smoke destroys the transparency of the skies. I could see smoke far to the east and southeast from this prescribed burn the day it started. The next morning the skies here were noticeably hazy. We only have June through October to do astrophotography since the rest of the year is generally too cloudy. Wildfires are bad enough but these prescribed burns just put smoke in the skies when it would otherwise be clear. Why can't these burns be done in November when the wildfire season is pretty much over but before the serious snows begin? I know this one was scheduled for Spring but the wet year prevented it. Why not just skip it this year or wait until November? Maybe I'm just cynical, but I have a hard time believing that these prescribed burns really have much impact when it comes to preventing wildfires. The burns are tiny compared to the vast unburned wilderness of California. Seems like this is more of a make work project for firefighters who are getting paid to sit around when there are no wildfires to fight.
avatar Re: Yosemite Fire Update #6 - July 10, 2011
July 14, 2011 10:35PM
I didn't have any problem with the area of this prescribed burn since it was meant to create a more defendable buffer zone for the area's resident's (and park vistors at the nearby campgrounds). But I did have a problem with the timing of it in the middle of the summer tourist season (and fire season).

The whole point of visiting the National Park and National Forest is for some quality R&R. For some, this is their main (and maybe only) vacation of the year. To have their vacation experience compromised by excess smoke and poor air quality is really not being considerate to many of the park visitors. The parks were set aside for the enjoyment of the people. Let the people enjoy the parks without prescribed burns during the height of the vacation season.
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