Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
National Park Service
47050 Generals Highway Three Rivers California 93271
Three Rivers, CA 93271
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. June 14, 2019 – Firefighters at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are preparing for their annual prescribed burn in the foothills of Sequoia National Park, near the entrance to the park. Ignitions are planned to begin on Thursday, June 20, and continue through Sunday, June 23.
The areas scheduled for treatment are in the hottest part of the parks. Prescribed burning in the parks’ foothills ecosystem reduces concentrations of fine fuels such as exotic grasses around infrastructure, thereby reducing the risk of wildfires later in the season. The smoke generated by prescribed burning also promotes oak health and acorn production.
“We’re doing this burn later in the season than we have in previous years because of the long, rainy spring,” says burn boss Cristian Lopez. “It took time for annual grasses to cure enough that we’ll be able to meet the objectives for the burn. With so much growth as a result of the rain, it’s extra-important for us to reduce fuels as wildfire season starts to pick up.”
The 2019 Ash Mountain Prescribed Burn consists of nine segments, for a total of approximately 25 acres between the Sequoia National Park entrance station and the Foothills Visitor Center, one mile inside the park. An additional 12 acres in the foothills will be treated mechanically (i.e., with vegetation-reduction techniques other than prescribed burning).
Visitors may see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the burn, and are asked to drive slowly and follow all firefighter instructions. Smoke impacts are expected to be minimal and short-lived, as the vegetation in the unit is chiefly fine fuels that will be consumed quickly. Visitors can learn more about air quality and smoke by visiting www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org.
About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ Fire Management Program
For over forty years, our mission has been to use the full range of options and strategies available to manage fire in the parks. This includes protecting park resources, employees, and the public from unwanted fire; building and maintaining fire resilient ecosystems; reducing the threat to local communities from wildfires emanating from the parks or adjacent lands; and recruiting, training, and retaining a professional fire management workforce.