Yosemite National Park is grateful to our Firewise communities who support the use of prescribed fire. Given the long summer of wildfires this year, the park appreciates your understanding that prescribed fires also have a place on our landscapes during the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Prescribed fire is a very important tool for reducing excessive fuel build up near our communities in order to reduce severity of future fires.
Yosemite National Park fire managers are planning two prescribed fires with ignitions starting on in the Mariposa Grove, weather conditions and air quality permitting, and continuing in Soupbowl for the week of . Air quality is a prime factor in moving forward with these prescribed fires.
This project includes two small burn units that total 84 acres. Burning in the Mariposa Grove is a continuous process; the targeted areas have had 1-3 prescribed fires in the past 30 years. Continued burning is required to maintain a healthy forest ecosystem. Fire produces the optimum conditions for Giant Sequoia regeneration. Fire not only removes the accumulated layers of dead woody debris exposing nutrient rich mineral soil, but is needed to dry the cones and allow the seeds to shed. In addition, by reducing the number of trees and undergrowth, wildfire opens up the forest canopy and reduces shade-tolerant competition.
The Mariposa Grove is still closed for restoration which provides fire managers the opportunity to conduct prescribed fire.
2-3 land segments ranging from 103 acres to 174 acres are being considered for a prescribed burn in the Unit 26 Soupbowl B project area along the Wawona Road (Highway 41 corridor).
The primary objective is to reduce hazardous vegetation (fuel) around the Wildland Urban Interface community of Wawona and park infrastructure at the South Entrance. Prescribed fire will help create a continuous fuel break by linking other recent wildfire areas with reduced fuels, mechanical thinning projects, and previous prescribed fires. This project will also reduce the threat of wildfires originating along Highway 41 that could adversely impact the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
Traffic control will be in place during burn operations and delays should be short. Please use caution when entering and exiting for firefighter safety.
WTREX (Women in Fire Prescribed Fire Training Exchange) will be integrating with Yosemite Fire on these prescribed burns. Expect to see a high percentage of women firefighters from various federal and state agencies doing prescribed fire preparation and burn operations. Currently only 10% of wildland fire positions are filled by women. In this 12 day training 90% of the participants are women. They will be engaging in all aspects of the prescribed burn operations.
Smoke will be present during prescribed fire and in the Wawona area. Fire managers are working with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District (MCAPD) to time the projects to coincide with favorable weather and smoke dispersion conditions. Smoke, affecting health, is always a consideration in the decision to schedule prescribed fires. A smoke management plan has been submitted to the MCAPCD, and a burn permit has been issued for both burn units. A smoke monitor will be placed in nearby communities to monitor smoke.