MARIPOSA GROVE: Prescribed Fire (Mariposa County)
Ignition of the 148 acre prescribed fire at Mariposa Grove began Sunday October 2, 2016 and a total of 31 acres were complete. Fire personnel will continue working in the lower grove area for mop up and monitoring. The Mariposa Grove is currently closed to the public because of a major restoration project; burning at this time minimizes impacts to public use.
Smoke will be present during this project. Smoke, affecting health, is always a consideration in the decision to schedule prescribed fires. Community members and visitors who are sensitive to smoke may way to close their windows and doors and/or consider leaving the area during ignition of the project in order to reduce exposure.
The objective of this prescribed fire is ecosystem restoration. Historically, natural fire burned an average of 16,000 acres annually in Yosemite National Park and played an integral role in shaping Yosemite's ecosystem. Yosemite's Fire Management Program works to balance the protection of life, property and natural and cultural resources with the continuation of fire as a natural process. Applying fire under prescribed conditions mimics the frequent, low intensity, lightning caused fires.
Burning in the Mariposa Grove is a continuous process; the targeted areas have had 1-3 prescribed fires in the past 30 years, and continued burning is required to maintain healthy forest conditions. Fire produces the optimum conditions for Giant Sequoia reproduction and propagation. Fire not only removes the accumulated layers of dead woody debris, exposing nutrient rich mineral soil, but dries the cones allowing the seeds to shed. Fire also creates holes in the forest canopy, while eliminating shade tolerate competition.
LAKES FIRE: Lightning Fire - 37 35.6 x 119 33.6 - approximately 8,000 feet elevation (Mariposa County)
The Lakes Fire in the Chilnualna Lakes area, between Turner Meadow and Buena Vista Peak, is a lightning caused fire that is being managed for multiple objectives. A ground reconnaissance was completed by Yosemite Crew-1 members on September 17, 2016 and reported to be 587 acres. This decrease in size is due to the accuracy of Crew-1 walking the fire line, as the last update was from an aerial reconnaissance. The fire had previously spread to the area of the 1999 Chil Fire area and has been most active on the west, north and northeast edge of the perimeter. Smoke has been visible from various locations within the park and surrounding area.
Former Yosemite National Park Superintendent, Don Neubacher, signed a trail closure effective August 25, 2016, as the fire had crossed the trail along Chilnualna Creek. The trail section between Turner Meadow (beyond the top of Chilnualna Fall) and Buena Vista Lake is included in the closure.