October 23, 2016
Contact: Mike Theune, NPS Fire Information Officer
Contact: Alicia Embrey, USFS Public Affairs Officer
, 559-784-1500 x1112
Kings Canyon National Park & Sequoia National Forest, Calif. October 23, 2016 – After further evaluation, both the National Park Service and the U.S. Forest Service have decided to postpone the 264-acre Sequoia Creek Prescribed Burn out of an abundance of caution.
On Saturday, October 22, fire crews did another field evaluation and counted a number of hazard trees that could pose a risk to the powerline corridor within the prescribed burn unit. The increased tree mortality has created additional workload, and both agencies need more time for further coordination with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) to ensure these hazards are mitigated in order to protect life and property. The powerlines provide power to Grant Grove, Hume Lake, and other properties to the east.
Smoke management and air quality are extremely important to the National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service. With the Jacobson Fire growing in the Golden Trout Wilderness, fire managers are mindful of regional weather and smoke patterns. Even with approval from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to perform the prescribed burn, the decision to delay supports our commitment to minimizing regional and local smoke impacts to the communities throughout the Sierra Nevada and the San Joaquin Valley. The public can learn more about air quality and smoke by visiting www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org.
Approximately 75 firefighters and personnel would be assigned to the Sequoia Creek Prescribed Burn. If utilized here, resources could be stretched thin if they are ordered to assist on the Jacobson Fire. Postponing the prescribed burn ensures that fire crews are able to prioritize where they are needed for the protection of area resources and assets.
“Even though this project is critical for forest and watershed health, postponing this prescribed burn demonstrates the complexities and considerations needed for a successful operation. With interagency coordination, we can work together for large scale ecosystem health, “said Kings Canyon National Park Fire Management Officer John Ziegler.
Additionally, many staff from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are involved in the on-going search and rescue efforts for Robert “Bob” Woodie. As the search continues, officials are requesting that any hiker who was in the search area since Thursday, October 13, 2016, to reach out with information by calling 559-565-3117.
The prescribed burn could still be completed this year depending on weather, air quality, and the availability of fire crews and resources. For updates and more information on this prescribed fire please, visit Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5072/. There, the public can find information about the prescribed burn, maps, and photos.