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Contact: Mike Vouri, 360-378-2240, ext. 2227
Contact: Lee Taylor, 360-378-2240, ext. 2223
National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and possibly San Juan County fire crews plan to conduct a prescribed fire on the southwest slope of Young Hill between June 9 and early July, weather permitting, announced Superintendent Lee Taylor.
The Young Hill fires will involve from 10 to 15 acres on the upper southwest portion of the hill, running from south of the English Camp cemetery to the Sandwith orchard along West Valley Road. Prescribed fires in several units over the last decade have been especially beneficial to the Garry oak woodlands on the southwest slope, Taylor said.
No road closures are anticipated, although a few trails in the immediate vicinity of the prescribed fires may be closed for a short time during the burns. Prescribed fire and caution signs will be posted along road ways and trails near the projects. For safety, park visitors are urged not to stop along the roadway or enter the area while burning operations are being conducted.
To prepare for the burn, the fire crew will establish portable reservoirs and string wet lines around the boundary of the intended burn area. This fire line also will be wetted down prior to ignition to contain fire. Adequate crews, equipment and water resources will be positioned to control the burn or to quickly extinguish it if necessary.
"As we anticipate a dry summer and fires have been in the news throughout the West, we consider this month an optimum time to do prescribed burns" Taylor said.
Prescribed fire is one of the primary tools in the park’s long-term program to reestablish portions of the diverse native grasslands at American Camp and Garry oak woodlands on the Young Hill slopes, Taylor said. Although remnants of the native plant community exist, large areas have been invaded by non-native plants, in part as a result of farming, as well as the exclusion of fire, used by native peoples before the arrival of Europeans. Fire reduces the amount of organic material and eliminates non-native seeds, which enables native plants to hold their own against non-native species.
"Reducing the fuel levels will aid in restoring desired conditions for native species such as the Garry oak," Taylor said.
The use of fire as an aid to prairie and Garry oak restoration is an activity identified in the park’s approved fire plan. To view the plan, visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/sajh/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm
For questions or comments please contact Taylor at 360-378-2240 or e-mail e-mail us.