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Contact: Maureen Finnerty, 760-934-2289
Devils Postpile National Monument will begin mechanical fuels treatment to approximately 10-30 acres within its boundaries on September 10, 2012. The reduced fuel area will facilitate the proactive implementation of the monument's fuels management objective of providing for public and firefighter safety.
Fuel loads in the monument and surrounding forest are magnified due to a powerful windstorm that occurred on November 30, 2011. This windstorm lasted approximately 12 hours with wind speeds up to 180 miles per hour. Estimates are that one-third to one-half of the forest within the monument was affected and that thousands of trees were knocked down.
Mechanical thinning will take place to remove downed trees around the monument infrastructure and adjacent to primary trails to reduce fuel loads, restore a more natural stand structure, and create additional defensive space in the northeast corner of the monument.Fire crews will be working on removing downed trees and reducing fuel loading around facilities, the road corridor and northeast corner of the monument,and areas of heavy visitor use in order to provide for increased public safety and reduce the risk of severe fire in those areas.
The primary impacts to the public will include potential delays along the trails, the short term impact to the area aesthetics in the form of slash piles, and the short term noise impact from chainsaw and/or log splitters.The NPS believes that natural quiet is a resource to be protected. During this project, the agency apologizes for the sound of mechanized equipment in the monument. With a little tolerance for noise now, the NPS can complete an important project that will protect people and park resources in the future.
If hiking in an area where fuels work is occurring, please do not enter the area until crews are aware of your presence and have given you the go ahead to pass through. Please observe any temporary closures or delays on monument trails. They are put in place for the safety of all visitors. The project will take two to four weeks and will occur between September 10 and the closing of the monument. The work will be done NPS Fuels Management crew from Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks and work later in the season, weather permitting, by a U.S. Forest Service crew from the Mammoth Lakes Ranger District on the Inyo National Forest.
The crew will remove limbs and small trees, and medium diameter wind fallen trees resulting from the November windstorm that struck the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin. Large trees will remain in place. Chain saws and a chipper will be used to break down the material.
Some of the downed tree materials will be used for providing campers with local a source of wood that does not contain imported pests from firewood, and the chipped limbs and needles will be used for ground cover in restoration areas and dust abatement. In some areas, downed wood will be piled and prepared for a future prescribed burn.
This is the second mechanical fuel reduction project under the monument's Fire and Fuels Management Plan that was finalized in May 2005. This plan directs the NPS to suppress all unplanned fires and use fuel treatments (mechanical fuel reduction and prescribed fire) to reduce hazardous fuels and restore healthy forest conditions. For more information about this project please contact monument staff at 760-934-2289.
Devils Postpile is located east of Yosemite National Park near the resort community of Mammoth Lakes. The 800-acre monument was established in 1911 to preserve the spectacular formation of columnar basalt and the hundred-foot Rainbow Falls.