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Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire Scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

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avatar Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire Scheduled for Tuesday, May 15, 2012
May 08, 2012 01:08PM
Yosemite National Park fire managers are planning the 846 acre, Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire, to begin on the morning of May 15, 2012. Favorable weather is predicted for the project through the week, with conditions for good smoke dispersion. Please Note – these are predictions only, and if stagnant air develops or persists over the Sierra Nevada region, fire managers will postpone the prescribed fire.

The primary objective of the prescribed fire is for the direct protection to the community of Wawona. This project will take advantage of the 2007 Jack Fire perimeter and reduce hazardous fuel loading in the Wawona Wildland Urban Interface area. Burning this segment will form a barrier to the community of Wawona from the spread of unwanted wildfire approaching from Turner Ridge to the north and partially from the South Fork Merced River drainage to the northwest. This project ties together multiple and historical research, natural and prescribed fires, and mechanical thinning.

Another objective for this project is to conduct ecosystem restoration by applying fire to this fire adapted landscape. Prior to the exclusion of fire over 100 years ago, fire was a natural process that played an integral role in shaping the landscape of Yosemite. Densities of shade tolerant tree species, such as white fir and incense cedar, and forest litter and duff have accumulated to unnatural and unaccepted levels in the absence of fire. Through the application of fire, a more natural vegetation composition can be achieved that would likely support a surface fire, but less likely to support crown fire.

Community members and visitors will see equipment and crews moving into the area as they prepare the fire perimeter for fire ignition and operations. Other pre-fire planning efforts include taking fuel moistures and moving remote automated weather (RAWS) equipment into the fire area.

Smoke will be present during the prescribed fire, particularly during the early morning hours. Fire managers are working with the Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties, San Joaquin Valley, and Great Basin Air Pollution Control Districts (APCDs), daily to time the project to coincide with favorable weather that will facilitate good air quality, and move and disperse smoke into the atmosphere away from the community. A burn permit will be issued to the park by the Mariposa County APCD, and air quality measuring devices are being moved to local communities. It is suggested that community members that are sensitive to smoke, close windows and doors and/or they may wish to leave the area during active ignition of the project.

This fire segment is identified in the 2004 Yosemite Fire Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement and re included in the Multi-year Strategic Fuels Management Plan. The goals and objectives for this project conform to the park’s General Management Plan and Vegetation Management Plan.

More updates will be published in the next few days and through the prescribed fire project. For additional Information: 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/rx-fire-projects.htm. Yosemite Fire Twitter: http://twitter.com#!/YosemiteFire.
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