2000 Annual Fire Report Executive Summary
Anthony C. Caprio, Science and Natural Resources Management Division (ed.)
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks have been a leader in fire research and the implementation of a fire management program emphasizing both prescribed management ignitions and prescribed natural fire (now called wildland fire used for resource benefit - WFURB). Objectives of the program were originally centered on the reduction of unnatural fuel accumulations but more recent emphasis has combined fuel reduction with restoration of ecosystem structure and function within ecosystems. Coupled with the fire management program has been an active research, inventory and monitoring program conducting a variety of fire related studies. These studies and their results are important in providing information about short- or long-term resource responses and impacts when burning and whether the planned objectives for the burn program are being met. This information feeds back into management planning and permits modification and fine tuning of the burn program. Additionally, it provides up-to-date information to the public and policy makers.
The Park's area encompasses 349,676 ha (864,067 ac) with elevations ranging from 485 to 4,392 m (1,600 to 14,495 ft). Vegetation of the area is diverse, varying from foothills chaparral and hardwood forests at lower elevations to alpine vegetation at elevations above about 3,100 m (10-11,000 ft).Burning in the Parks during 2000 amounted to 33.2 ha (81.9 ac). Area burned during 2000 was limited by the burn moratorium decreed by the Secretary of the Interior following the Cerro Grande fire (originally ignited as a prescribed burn) in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico which escaped control in Bandelier National Park and burned a large number of homes in the nearby community of Los Alamos.
In past years this annual report summarized research, inventory, and monitoring activities within the East Fork drainage associated with the Mineral King Risk Reduction Project (MKRRP). Beginning in 1999 the reports began to compile and describe work carried out from throughout the Parks, in addition to work relating to the ongoing MKRRP. During 2000 there were 14 ongoing projects related to fire underway within the Parks and several major new projects in the initiation stage.