Taft Toe Prescribed Fire - Ignitions Completed
The 111 acre Taft Toe prescribed fire project began on Thursday morning at approximately 9:00 am, October 15, and ignitions was successfully completed at 6:15 pm. There will be an additional 3 to 5 days for logs and other vegetation to completely burn out. Some large logs may smolder until rain occurs.
Weather conditions were optimal to complete burn project ahead of the estimated one and half days of ignitions. Air Quality is predicted to improve each day. Yosemite fire crews were assisted by 1 engine from the Stanislaus National Forest and 2 CAL FIRE Mt. Bullion hand crews.
The Taft Toe prescribed fire project was a narrow forested area. The project was approximately 3 miles in length along South Side Drive of the Valley, and just east of Bridalveil Straight and Sentinel Beach picnic area. Parts of the unit were burned in 1993, 1995 and 1997; some segments had no recorded fire history.
A common objective for all the prescribed burns conducted in Yosemite Valley, since the practice was introduced in the 1970’s, is to use fire as an ecosystem restoration and management tool. In the absence of fire, the density of shade tolerant species such as white fir and incense cedar, along with forest litter and duff accumulations are now at unnatural and unacceptable levels. The purposes of the treatments called for in this burn plan are to reduce the density of small diameter (less than 6 inches) mixed conifer species, the accumulations of dead and down woody debris, and to restore and maintain the open forests and meadows. The restoration and maintenance of the Valley’s plant communities will be accomplished primarily through the application of fire and selective mechanical thinning. Moderate over-story mortality is acceptable. Properly timed and scheduled treatments, will create more open forest stands, halt or mitigate the encroachment of trees into the meadows, and over time, open past vistas lost due to overstocked forested areas and shrinking meadows. The success of the Taft Toe and fire effects will be assessed in the coming weeks.
A burn permit was issued to the park by Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District (MCAPCD). Fire managers will continue to work with the MCAPCD by continuing to monitor air quality in smoke sensitive communities. Air quality information will be available through notifications and interactions with park employees, visitors and adjacent communities.
The project is identified in the Yosemite Fire Management and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Plan of March 2004.
- Fire Information and Education: Gary_Wuchner@nps.gov; or call 209/372-0480
- Air Quality: https://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/aqmonitoring.htm
- Park webcams: https://www.nps.gov/yose/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm