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.

A firefighter stands on a hillside near a burning stump.

Fire crews monitor a burning stump near employee housing at the John Muir Lodge. NPS

Lodge Prescribed Fire: Continuing Efforts to Keep Grant Grove a Fire-Adapted Human Community

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Cohesive Strategy—Fire-Adapted Human Communities, Maintain and Restore Resilient Landscapes*

In fall 2012, fire crews completed the 22-acre Lodge prescribed fire adjacent to the John Muir Lodge. The project provides critical fuels reduction next to the lodge and for the Grant Grove area as well as outstanding fire effects for benefit to the ecosystem.

This project was one in a series of concerted steps that fire managers have taken over the past 15 years to reduce hazardous fuels around Grant Grove to protect this community from unwanted fire. Previous mechanical thinning and prescribed fires have strategically reduced fuels around this developed area.

A firefighter with a hose sprays a building's roof, while three other firefighters stand by.

Fire crews pre-treat wooden structures with water and foam as additional structure protection on the Lodge prescribed fire. NPS

This unit had no recorded fire history and was therefore considered a restoration burn. After more than 100 years of fire exclusion, there was an unnaturally dense amount of fuels that had accumulated in the absence of the natural fire cycle of every 10-15 years. Approximately 60% of the dead and downed fuels were consumed by the fire. The prescribed fire consumed these fuels under favorable conditions. This reduced the risk of an unwanted fire during hotter, drier conditions that could threaten the developed areas in Grant Grove.

Ignition techniques that were used and cooler conditions re-created a natural, lower-intensity fire for the best ecological effects as well. This area should see increased bio-diversity in plant and animal life in the upcoming years. Nourished by ash, wildflowers and other plants will thrive here in the future. They will gather more sunlight in open spaces created by fire. Wildlife will be drawn here by these rich food sources.

Extensive outreach to the John Muir Lodge’s guests and to the employees who worked there helped people plan their vacations around this event. Many visitors enjoyed the opportunity to watch the fire operations from the nearby lodge grounds.

Contact: Deb Schweizer, Fire Education Specialist

Email: debra_schweizer@nps.gov

Phone: (559) 565-3703

*This story supports the Department of the Interior initiatives.