June 6, 2016
Contact: Mike Theune, Fire Information Officer
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. June 6, 2016 – The parks are announcing potential dates for the upcoming Goliath Prescribed Burn in Redwood Canyon, located in Kings Canyon National Park. With ideal conditions for this prescribed burn being early summer, staff from both parks have been preparing the area and collecting data to ensure the parameters are set for a successful operation.
At 759 acres, the purpose of this prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem - home to the largest giant sequoia grove in the world. A prescribed burn is one of the only natural means to prepare a mineral soil seed bed, for which giant sequoias require to regenerate; the other being a lightning-caused fire when conditions may not be as ideal.
Based on 30 years of meteorological analysis and recently gathered temperature, humidity, and fuel moisture data, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the parks have established the window of June 10 – June 21 for the prescribed burn to occur. It is estimated it will take between four and five days for ignitions to be completed with smoke being the most visible during that period. The actual burn dates have not been set at this time.
“The Goliath Prescribed Burn completes a key segment in maintaining health and resiliency in the birth place of prescribed burning in the western United States in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This project allows us to continue the positive work we have done for future enjoyment of the area,” said John Ziegler, Kings Canyon Fire Management Officer.
The project area is surrounded in its entirety by the Redwood Canyon and Hart Tree Trails. All trails surrounding the burn unit will have restricted access during ignition and through the burn down period. If safe to do so, firefighters may be able to escort visitors along a short section of the Redwood Canyon Trail in between the Sugar Bowl and Hart Tree Trails.
Smoke impacts can be expected in Redwood Canyon and the Kings Canyon Overlook area during the day and towards the North Fork of the Kaweah River at night. The Generals Highway and Redwood Saddle Road should not experience any delays. Depending on dispersion, the Montecito-Sequoia Lodge may experience smoke impacts at night.
The 2015 Rough Fire not only showed how effective prescribed burning is in reducing tree mortality and fire severity, but also demonstrated how much safer an area is for firefighters when an unwanted fire occurs. Previously managed fires in the parks reduced the amount of fireline needed during the Rough Fire by nearly 67 miles – the fire itself had a perimeter of nearly 200 miles.