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Fall Prescribed Fire Activities Announced

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Date: September 1, 2011
Contact: Jim Wheeler, 707-465-7764

National Park Service Superintendent Steve Chaney announced today that Redwood National and State Parks will conduct a series of prescribed burns this fall in the prairies and oak woodlands in the Bald Hills east of Orick, Calif., as well as in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

The prescribed fire season in the parks will begin in September or early October as weather conditions permit. This year fire will be used as a management tool in five specific burn units in the Bald Hills: Upper Elk Camp Prairie, Dolason Prairie, Williams Ridge, Lower Lyons Ranch Prairie, and South Boundary Prairie. Combined, all five units total about 600 acres. An additional 150 acres will be burned at Elk (Boyes) Prairie in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

For thousands of years, Yurok, Tolowa, and Chilula people managed prairies, oak woodlands, and some coastal areas that are now within the parks with periodic fire. Burning provided grazing and hunting areas for elk and deer, maintained important resources like tanoak trees to improve acorn production and plants for medicines and various basket weaving materials, kept trail and travel corridors open, and lessened the prevalence of parasites, such as ticks, in the prairies. Settlers who later homesteaded the prairies practiced broadcast burning until it was outlawed by the state in the 1930s. Since then, many of the prairies and oak woodlands have become encroached with Douglas fir and other conifers which can eventually eliminate these important plant communities.

The parks' 2010 Fire Management Plan provides for the use of fire to restore natural and cultural processes and manage exotic plants and conifers encroaching into prairie and oak woodland plant communities. The parks have successfully used prescribed fires to achieve these objectives since the early 1980's.

If you are in the parks over the next couple of months, there will likely be additional activity and equipment on and near Bald Hills Road. Smoke may linger on the roadways and traffic control may be in place. Please be cautious for your safety, as well as for those working on the prescribed burns.

For further information, please contact Jim Wheeler at (707) 465-7764.

You can also view, download, and/or print this News Release by clicking here (PDF, 115 KB). 

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

The Bald Hills Road serves as a scenic byway to a high prairie landscape dotted with magnificent 300-year-old Oregon white oak trees. This region of the parks offers fields of colorful springtime wildflowers and trail access to several historic ranches. A Roosevelt elk herd could surprise you!