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Contact: Mike Theune, Fire Information Officer, 559-565-3703SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. April 1, 2018 – Today, the Fire and Fuels Management Program announce the planned prescribed burns and mechanical treatments for 2018. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks mechanical fuels treatments, prescribed burns, and lightning-caused wildfires managed for multiple objectives all play a role in protecting highly valued resources and assets. The use of a variety of wildland fire management tools makes wildfire management efforts much more effective.
During the 2017 fire season, there were 19 wildfires in the parks, eleven human-caused and eight lightning-caused. By the end of the year, 32-acres burned from wildland fires. Firefighters and fire personnel additionally responded to seven mutual-aid fire requests on neighboring lands such as the Dinely Fire and supported 76 in-park search-and-rescues. Furthermore, fire staff traveled to 70 off-park fires / incidents in 2017, including Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“Last year no single unwanted wildfire reached over 25-acres in the parks, yet 658-acres of prescribed burning and mechanical thinning were completed. Our continued proactive approach to fuels management not only works towards meeting the goals of the Secretary of the Interior, but ensures our parks are more resilient to the effects of drought and climate change for future generations,” said John Ziegler, acting Fire Management Officer.
Each year, managers prepare an Annual Fuels Treatment Plan that lists all the approved prescribed burns and mechanical fuel reduction projects that will help the parks accomplish goals. In all, there are eight planned projects totaling over 1,800 acres. 119 acres will be focused on mechanical thinning treatments to reduce hazardous fuel build up around Big Stump and the Lodgepole / Wuksachi areas.
The earliest projects planned for this year are the 440-acre Sherman Highway / Upper Sherman Prescribed Burn and the 40-acre Cedar East Prescribed Burn, both being planned for late April / early May. In total, five prescribed burns are planned with the last couple scheduled for late fall.
A full list of the planned projects can be seen by visiting http://go.nps.gov/sekifireplans.
If you are visiting the parks, be aware that fire and smoke can be present at any time. Since the execution of burns depends on air quality, local fire activity, fuel moisture, and weather, the times and dates listed on the website are estimates only.
About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ Fire Management Program
For fifty 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.