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Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn

Unit Information

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
National Park Service
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271

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Incident Contact

SEKI Fire Information Office
Email: seki_fire_info@nps.gov
Phone: 559-565-3704

Dates Selected for Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn

Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn Prescribed Fire
News – 6/7/2022

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. June 7, 2022 – Scheduled to start June 9, 2022, fire managers will conduct the 752-acre Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park. This prescribed burn is scheduled to take 8-9 days to complete. The Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn is located in the heart of the Giant Forest and roughly half of a mile northeast of the Giant Forest Museum. Access to the General Sherman Tree will not be limited by the prescribed burn.

The parks have been performing prescribed burns in the Giant Forest area since 1979. By working with the area’s historical fire return interval, which is ten to sixteen years, the parks are ensuring a diverse mosaic of fire history, which is a natural part of the ecosystem, and makes the area less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire. Prescribed burns also promote the regeneration of giant sequoias by creating openings in the canopy, clearing the forest floor, and opening the cones, allowing seeds to disperse. 

The benefit of lower-intensity prescribed fire in preventing catastrophic high-intensity wildfire was demonstrated when last year’s KNP Complex Fire was easily suppressed when it reached the Giant Forest, which had been regularly treated with prescribed fire for decades. Compare that to areas of the park that had not been treated with prescribed fire. In many of these heavy fuel areas the fire burned so intensely that it destroyed vast amounts of forest, tragically killed monarch giant sequoias, and threatened communities outside the parks.

“Considering the devastating losses to iconic giant sequoias in the past two fire years," shared Parks Superintendent Clay Jordan, “we must maintain a healthy, resilient Giant Forest, the cherished giant sequoia grove and home to the largest tree in the world.”

The network of trails in the Giant Forest is very complex. Trails closed during the prescribed burn and the post- burn period will be clearly marked. Visitors to the area on ignition days may experience up to 30-minute traffic delays for the safety of fire crews working along the Generals Highway during that time.

Visitors will not be able to hike between the General Sherman Tree and the Giant Forest Museum during this time. Instead, visitors are encouraged to use the free Sequoia Shuttle between these points. More info can be found at https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/parktransit.htm. Additionally, hiking across the Giant Forest to Moro Rock and Crescent Meadow from the General Sherman Tree will not be possible during the prescribed burn.

Visitors to the area on ignition days may experience moderate smoke impacts in the Giant Forest, General Sherman Tree, and Lodgepole areas. At night, smoke may be discernible in the parks’ lower elevations and in Three Rivers, CA. Research shows that regular prescribed burns produce less smoke than wildfire in areas where fire has been excluded. Visitors can learn more about air quality and smoke by visiting https://fire.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org.

For more information on this prescribed burn, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8130/

-NPS-

About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Fire Management Program

For over fifty 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.

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