Reducing Hazardous Fuels with Prescribed Burning

Reducing Hazardous Fuels with Prescribed Burning

Springville, CA – Sequoia National Forest personnel on the Western Divide Ranger District are preparing to implement prescribed burns on National Forest System lands. Piles are scattered between 3,000 – 7,800 feet elevation across the district.

Prescribed fires are an essential tool for restoring forest health in a fire-adapted ecosystem. Fire is a natural and essential process that cannot be replaced by any mechanical means. Historically, the Forest relied on frequent low severity fire as a necessary process that results in a healthier forest by reducing accumulated vegetation and recycling valuable nutrients into the soil.

The number of acres burned daily is expected to vary due to the multiple considerations the prescribed burn supervisors must take into consideration prior to igniting a controlled burn. The objectives of the prescribed burns vary by project design but all provide many positive outcomes like helping protect communities by reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfires, reducing fuel loads and fuel continuity, returning fire to an ecosystem, enhancing wildlife habitats, improving forage, preparing seedbeds, improving watershed conditions, enhancing nutrient cycling, controlling exotic weeds, and enhancing resilience from climate change.

Prescribed fires are used to manage fuels in fire-prone landscapes. Most of these areas consist of scattered piles of small trees, brush, and limbs created from community wildfire protection projects. These practices, however, typically occur under different conditions, potentially leading to differences in fire behavior and effects. Smoke from the prescribed burning operations will be visible along roads and in nearby communities. Forest Service personnel work closely with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to manage smoke production and reduce the impact on communities.

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