Fire Stories

Fire stories from the national parks highlight events, incidents, and the like, associated with fire and fuels management, as well as fire education, technology, partnerships, and more. Stories highlight work related to Department of the Interior initiatives as well as local and regional initiatives.

Ignition operations near the amphitheater and store.

Loomis Prescribed Fire Project Continues

Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*

Lassen Volcanic National Park fire staff completed another unit of the Loomis Prescribed Fire Project on May 15, 2009. The project was initiated last fall and consists of five separate units totaling 82 acres. This unit was approximately 20 acres and is located adjacent to the Manzanita Lake Amphitheater and Camper Store. The prescribed fire was designed to consume coarse, woody debris on the forest floor and remove ladder fuels providing a number of ecological benefits, including recycling nutrients into the soil, increasing biodiversity by promoting the growth of grasses, forbs, and shrubs, and encouraging the regeneration of ponderosa and Jeffrey pine trees.

Firefighter igniting along the path to the amphitheater using caution to protect walkway night lights.

The area receives heavy summer visitation and park visitors can expect to see gradual changes over time that eventually result in healthy open pine stands with a diverse understory of herbaceous plants. Park visitors can expect to see evidence of species such as California voles, mountain pocket gophers and black-tailed deer taking advantage of the succulent young growth. Park staff will take advantage of future educational opportunities in this high use area to promote fire safety and demonstrate fire's vital role toward the health of these pine forests.

NPS fire engine protecting amphitheater during Loomis RX burn.

The park has successfully completed several prescribed fire projects around the Manzanita Lake developed area. Frequent prescribed fire projects in this area are necessary to restore this forest ecosystem which has evolved around frequent, low intensity, natural fires. Approximately 95% of the entire 82 acre, 5-unit Loomis Prescribed Fire Project has been manually thinned from below in recent years to help produce more fire resistant and resilient fuel profiles within this high use recreation area. These thinning efforts have also greatly contributed to the overall success of the individual prescribed fire projects.

Historic structures, a cultural landscape and archeological sites are all found within the project area. These prescribed fires are implemented to reduce the probability of fire getting into the forest crowns and threatening the developments located in the Manzanita Lake area.

Contact: Jon Arnold, Park Forester or Eric Hensel, Fire Management Officer
Phone: (530) 595-4444 ext. 5171 or 5168

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.