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Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are planning a prescribed fire in the southern portion of the park near Bishop Creek and Rail Creek along the Wawona Road, on Monday, October 24, 2011. The original burn date was scheduled for Friday, September 30, 2011, but was canceled due to rainy and snowy conditions in the area. Ignition of the prescribed fire is dependent on favorable weather conditions. The total prescribed burn area will include 5,224 acres. The burn area will be broken up into segments, with Segment A being ignited on Monday, and will include 1,400 acres. The remaining acres will be burned at future dates. Fire engines, water tenders, and fire crews from Yosemite National Park and the U.S. Forest Service will be present during all fire activity.
It is estimated that the burn will take approximately four to five days to complete. Temperatures over the scheduled burn dates are predicted to be in the mid 70's.
Smoke from the burn may be visible throughout the park during the day. There is also a possibility of nighttime smoke impacts along the Wawona Road and in Yosemite West, Wawona, Yosemite Valley, El Portal and Foresta
The goal of this prescribed burn is to reduce fire fuels near the communities of Yosemite West, Wawona, Glacier Point, and El Portal. This prescribed fire will help to reduce over-accumulation of fuels near these communities, thereby reducing the chances of wildfires.
Historically, fire has burned as frequently as every four to twelve years in this particular area. However, there have been no fires in the vicinity for the past 25 years. This project is another step in restoring fire depending forest ecosystems in Yosemite National Park's lower mixed conifer pine forest.