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

 A firefighter stands on a hillside near a burning stump.
ire crews monitor a burning stump near employee housing at the John Muir Lodge.

In fall 2012, fire crews completed the 22-acre Lodge prescribed fire adjacent to the John Muir Lodge in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The project provided critical fuels reduction next to the lodge and for the Grant Grove area, as well as outstanding fire effects benefiting 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 pretreat wooden structures with water and foam as additional structure protection on the Lodge prescribed fire.

This unit had no recorded fire history and was therefore considered a restoration burn. After more than 100 years of fire exclusion, an unnaturally dense amount of fuels had accumulated in the absence of the natural fire cycle of every 10-15 years. Approximately 60 percent 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.

The ignition techniques used and cooler conditions re-created a natural, lower-intensity fire for the best ecological effects as well. This area should see increased biodiversity 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 guests and employees 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