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Contact: Mike Theune, 559-565-3703
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. May 4, 2015–The past four years have seen an unprecedented drought not only in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks but the entire Sierra Nevada Range.
Weather stations across the area are showing well below normal seasonal rainfall for this time of year. Furthermore, the winter snowfall was practically non-existent, leading to the smallest high elevation snowpacks on record.
With the early season Potwisha Fire this past April, it is apparent that conditions in the park are exceptionally dry. Fire danger is currently at levels that are normally seen in June.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Superintendent Woody Smeck said, "In order to protect our visiting public, staff, and the parks resources and assets, we must be proactive in our approach to this year's fire season."
Therefore, directed by the Superintendent of the parks, pursuant to the procedures in Appendix M of the parks' Fire and Fuels and Fire Management Plan, Stage 2 Fire Restrictions will be effective at 8:00 a.m. on May 20, 2015
This means that wood or charcoal fire will be prohibited in Buckeye Flat, Potwisha, and South Fork Campgrounds, as well as Ash Mountain and Hospital Rock Picnic Areas. This also includes Wilderness areas below 6,000 feet.
Smoking is also prohibited below 6,000 feet, except within an enclosed vehicle, a building in which smoking is allowed, a campground or picnic area where wood and charcoal fires are allowed, or a designated smoking area.
Gas, propane, alcohol (with and without a shutoff valve) and tablet/cube stoves are still permitted in all areas.
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.