Parks to Incorporate Traditional Techniques in Upcoming Prescribed Burn

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Date: May 30, 2017
Contact: Mike Theune, Fire information Officer, 559-565-3703
Contact: Rebecca Paterson, Fire information Officer, 559-565-3129

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. May 30, 2017 – Firefighters at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are preparing for an upcoming prescribed burn adjacent to the Sequoia National Park entrance station and headquarters, known as the Ash Mountain area. Scheduled to begin June 7, 2017, with four to five burning days, this burn will incorporate philosophies and techniques employed by park partners from the Native American community. 

Tribal forums, held regularly, provide the parks with the opportunity to share knowledge and perspective on land management with federally and non-federally recognized tribes in the local area. Park fire management staff has been working closely with these partners in planning and preparing for the upcoming prescribed burn.

Prescribed fire treatments in the parks’ foothills ecosystem are performed periodically in order to reduce fuel loads and increase defensible space, thereby protecting infrastructural and visitor safety in one of the hottest and driest areas of the parks. During the upcoming prescribed burn, firefighters will also incorporate traditional practices to promote health and acorn production in oak trees.

“The philosophy of this project is to have a broad landscape perspective, to understand the landscape and what it needs from us in order to be productive,” says Jessie Russett, archaeologist and tribal liaison for the parks. “The oak trees are an essential part of that landscape. If we take care of the oaks, they will take care of us.”

“We’re seeking to incorporate these practices on this prescribed burn, and hopefully in the future, for multiple benefits,” says Todd Bates, fuels management specialist. “This collaboration has been really exciting.”

The Ash Mountain Prescribed Burn consists of 12 segments, for a total of approximately 40 acres. Of these, approximately 26 acres are expected to be treated with prescribed burning, with the remainder treated mechanically.

Visitors may see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the burn, and are asked to drive slowly and carefully as they enter the park. Smoke impacts are expected to be minimal, as the unit is largely composed of fine fuels that will be consumed quickly. Visitors can learn more about air quality and smoke by visiting either www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org. For current information on fire in the parks, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/797/.

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About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ Fire Management Program
For over forty years, our mission has been to use the full range of options and strategies available to manage fire in the parks. This includes protecting park resources, employees, and the public from unwanted fire; building and maintaining fire resilient ecosystems; reducing the threat to local communities from wildfires emanating from the parks or adjacent lands; and recruiting, training, and retaining a professional fire management workforce.

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Last updated: May 31, 2017

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