Changes to Some Opening/Closing Dates for Services and Facilities – Check Back for Updates
Some of the opening/closing dates for facilities and visitor services in the parks have changed due to weather and/or other circumstances. See link for details and match to locations on the park map (under "Park Tools," bottom left, this page). More »
Road Conditions (Entire Park) and Road Construction Delays (if Entering/Exiting Hwy. 198)
Expect 20-minute to 1-hour construction delays on main road through parks (Generals Hwy) until Memorial Day weekend (7 a.m.-6 p.m.). See link for schedule. Call for 24-hour road conditions info: 559-565-3341 (press 1, 1, 1). More »
Vehicle Length Limits Have Changed in Sequoia NP (if Entering/Exiting Hwy 198)
Planning to see the "Big Trees" in Sequoia National Park? If you enter/exit via Hwy. 198, please pay close attention to new vehicle length advisories for your safety and the safety of others. More »
You May Have Trouble Calling Us. Use the "Contact Us" Link (Bottom Left) to Send an E-mail.
We are experiencing technical problems receiving some incoming phone calls at the parks. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please keep trying to reach us or check this website for frequently-asked questions. The search box (top, right) may be helpful.
Prescribed Fires Planned at Ash Mountain/Sequoia National Park (Parks' South Entrance)
Fire crews will be working on hazard fuel reduction project at Ash Mountain (south entrance) starting May 23. There are nine small burn segments near the south entrance. The fire may be visible from the road and will produce smoke for very short periods.
1998 AFR Executive Summary
Anthony C. Caprio (ed.), Science and Natural Resources Management Division
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California
The Mineral King Risk Reduction Project (MKRRP) was initiated out of a need to assess the operational requirements and cost effectiveness of large scale prescribed burning for wildland management in a setting altered by a century of fire suppression. The local objectives of the project are to initiate the reduction of unnatural fuel accumulations (these accumulations can create hazardous conditions for visitors, developments, and natural resources) and begin restoration of ecosystem structure and function within the East Fork drainage of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. However, because the scale of the project is unprecedented, a number of integrated monitoring and research projects were also initiated to assess the impacts and responses of key components of the watershed to prescribed fire. Additional projects have also been initiated to utilize this opportunity to gain additional insights into fire's role in Sierran ecosystems. These projects and their results are important in providing information about short- or long-term resource responses and impacts when burning at this scale, a relatively new management strategy, and whether the planned objectives for the MKRRP are being met. This information will feed back into management planning and permit modification and fine tuning of the burn program in addition to providing information to the public and policy makers.
The MKRRP area encompasses 21,202 ha (52,369 ac) within the East Fork watershed with elevations ranging from 874 m (2,884 ft) to 3,767 m (12,432 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). About 80% of the watershed is vegetated with most of the remainder being rock outcrops located on steep slopes and at high elevations.
Support for the monitoring and research projects is coming from a variety of sources. Projects funded directly out of the Mineral King Risk Reduction Project include fire effects monitoring, fuel and wildlife inventories, and a study on the relationship between fuel loads and fire impacts on giant sequoia fire scars. Additional projects are being supported from within the Parks and include resampling old vegetation plots and fire history studies. Other projects are using resources from within and the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Field Station (Biological Resources Division of the USGS). These include natural resource inventory, watershed hydrology, stream chemistry. Cooperative research projects are also underway using the dedication, energy, and support of graduate students from several universities (University of California, Davis; University of California, Berkeley).
Several noteworthy observations or findings were made by the monitoring/research projects from 1995 to 1998. The small mammal trapping project found that small mammal populations roughly doubled in the burned sequoia plot compared to preburn population densities. Fire effects plots showed overstory tree mortality varied by vegetation type: 22% red fir forest (ABMA), 50% sequoia mixed-conifer forest (no mortality of overstory sequoias was noted), and 98% in low elevation mixed-conifer forest (CADE). These plots also showed total fuel reductions of 77% (CADE) to 91% (ABMA). A significant increase in giant sequoia seedlings was noted in the burned Atwell sequoia plots. Watershed sampling completed its second full water year of sampling, providing preburn data on trends within the East Fork. Initial results suggest similar annual shifts in flow, pH, and ANC (acid neutralization capacity) when compared to other unburned Sierran watersheds.
Burning in the watershed during 1998 amounted to 142 ha (350 ac) centered in chaparral vegetation near to Lookout Point. This was the first significant area of this type of vegetation burned during the project. A total of 1,346 ha (3,325 ac) have been burned in the watershed since 1995. Burning during 1999 will concentrate on Tar Gap, Deadwood, Redwood, and the Lookout Point chaparral segments.
Did You Know?
Sometimes you will see sequoias in a straight row. This may happen because sequoia seeds prefer mineral-rich burned ground. When a fallen log burns long and hot, it leaves a strip of bare mineral-rich soil — an ideal place for new sequoias to grow. Years later, we see a line of sequoias!