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.

Rangers talk with visitors at the Fire Place.

The Bobcat Prescribed Fire: Fire in Sequoias Provides Visitors an Educational Park Experience

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, California
National Fire Plan, Fuels Reduction*

Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park is a primary park destination. Completing a prescribed fire along the Crescent Meadow and Moro Rock roads was sure to fascinate visitors.

The main objective of this 97-acre project was to reduce the fuels and to encourage giant sequoia regeneration.

Natural fire occurs about every 10-15 years in a sequoia forest. Since this area had experienced fire in 1984 and 1988, it was restored to its natural fire regime. Fire behavior was excellent with denser pockets of fuels being consumed while wetter areas or areas with less fuel did not burn.

Fire behavior was excellent on the Bobcat prescribed fire.

Giant sequoias are fire adapted and thrive in naturally cycling fire. Fire opens the cones, and releases the tiny seeds to the nutrient rich ash and mineral soil below ideal conditions for this tree's germination. Fire thins competing vegetation and trees and opens the canopy for this sun-loving species.

For visitors, the opportunity to see fire as something that belonged in the forest and helped create sequoia saplings was a highlight of their visit. Park rangers were throughout the area to talk about the role of fire in the Sierra Nevada.

In addition, the park offers a free shuttle service throughout Giant Forest to popular visitor destinations. Shuttle drivers drove by the fire as it was brought to the road and embraced the opportunity to talk about the fire with their riders.

For the parks, the success was two-fold: frequent fire in sequoia groves creates a healthier forest; and sharing the story of fire with visitors enhanced their understanding of the parks while providing a memorable experience.

Contact: Deb Schweizer, Fire Communication and Education Specialist
Phone: (559) 565-3703

*This story supports Department of the Interior initiatives.