Yosemite National Park Fire Crews are planning for a 439-acre prescribed burn in Yosemite Valley next week. The project will focus on seven units east of El Capitan Crossover toward Leidig Meadow. Depending on weather and air quality, this project is planned to start on Monday May 24, 2021. Ignition could last three days with smoke lingering in Yosemite Valley for one to two weeks. Smoke impacts will be localized to Yosemite Valley during the day with smoke likely drifting down canyon during the evening hours. This project is part of the Yosemite Valley Parkwide Prescribed Fire Plan which encompasses 35 units totaling 12,114 acres.
Deputy Fire Management Officer Kelly Singer stated, “conducting fuels treatment in this area will reduce heavy accumulation of dead and down fuels. We anticipate temporary trail closures on the Valley Loop trail during burning operations. Visitors around Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach Picnic Area, and the 4-mile Trailhead starting from the Valley floor should expect to see fire personnel in the area.” There will be traffic control with one lane temporary closures in place.
Fire managers work closely with air quality specialists and local air pollution control districts to time projects to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions. Smoke impacts are always a consideration in the decision to begin prescribed burning ignitions. For air quality information, please visit: Yosemite Air Quality Page or airnow.gov
Over 50 years of research has shown park managers that total suppression of all fires does not prevent large severe wildfires. Park managers understand fires are inevitable in our fire-adapted ecosystem and working with fire is a pro-active way to protect our resources. Prescribed fire is an important technique used to reduce excessive vegetation build up on the landscape and reduce the potential for more severe fires.