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.

An excavator digs off the side of a dirt road / trail.

Top: An excavator removes vegetation along the Bayview Fire Road. NPS / J. Chapman

Mastication Increases Efficiency of Fire Road Maintenance

Point Reyes National Seashore, California
Cohesive Strategy—Response to Wildfire*

A dirt fire road cuts up a wooded slope.

Fire road clearance improves a critical evacuation route for residents living adjacent to Point Reyes National Seashore, NPS / J. Chapman

During February, 2012, an excavator mounted with a mastication drum treated a 1.3 mile segment of the Bayview Fire Road which is part of the Inverness Ridge Trail at Point Reyes National Seashore. The fire road extends from the Bayview parking lot off Limantour Road to the edge of a residential area at Sunnyside Road. All vegetation within 15 to 25 feet of each side of the fire road was mulched. The width of the treatment was increased in areas where the slope was steeper. This technique accomplished in a few weeks what would have taken months for a 10-person crew to achieve, making it highly cost effective. Efficient use of time also addressed constraints on the work season due to bird nesting. Surveys done prior to implementation ensured that no rare plants would be affected by the work.

This fire road mastication project continues the development of the Inverness Ridge Fuel Break which is designed to improve emergency access and egress during a wildfire. This fuel break includes the Bayview Fire Road which is a critical evacuation route for hundreds of residents on Inverness Ridge. Fuel reduction along this corridor will also enhance its use as a control line in fire suppression operations.

The mastication treatment adjoins another treatment along Limantour Road where the emergency access and egress route continues. This corridor was identified as a priority treatment in a community wildfire protection plan after a wildfire burned 43 homes on Inverness Ridge in 1995.

Contact: Jennifer Chapman, Fire Communication and Education Specialist

Email: jennifer_chapman@nps.gov

Phone: (415) 464-5133

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.