Yosemite National Park to Begin Fall Prescribed Fire Program
The National Park Service is planning to begin fall prescribed fire activities in the Yosemite Valley area. Weather and air quality permitting, YV-15 will begin around September 16th, while YV-4 is slated for the following week. Each unit will only take a day to complete, once begun.
These two burns, when complete, will likely total around 79 acres. YV-4 is immediately east of Bridalveil Meadow. YV-15 is east of the El Capitan Picnic Area. Both units are north of the Merced River adjacent to Northside Drive. Both units have been burned in the past and are comprised primarily of ponderosa pine and other mixed conifers.
Park staff will monitor smoke on a consistent basis; however smoky conditions may exist for the duration of this project, particularly in the morning, and continue for several days. Smoke impacts to the Northside Drive and Yosemite Lodge area may occur. Drivers should use extreme caution and abide by posted speed limits. Residents and visitors are advised to take precautions to minimize smoke impacts. People with respiratory problems should use caution when exerting themselves in smoky areas.
Fire has a natural role in maintaining healthy ecosystems in Yosemite. Prescribed fire is designed to thin forests and reduce unnatural fuel loads in areas that are in close proximity to public and private structures as well as visitor use areas. Prescribed fires help provide important community protection, as well as create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals. Fire helps recycle nutrients to the soil which aids the sprouting and re-growth of plants, shrubs, and trees.
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Did You Know?
In Wawona and downstream, the South Fork Merced River provides habitat for a rare plant, the Sierra sweet bay (Myrica hartwegii). This special status shrub is found in only five Sierra Nevada counties. In Yosemite, it occurs exclusively on sand bars and river banks along the South Fork Merced River downstream from Wawona and on Big Creek.