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The National Park Service announced plans today to conduct a prescribed fire in the Wawona area of Yosemite National Park. This burn is scheduled to begin April 9, 2008, and to continue for approximately two weeks, weather and air quality conditions permitting. The total area of the burn is about 2,000 acres. The fire unit is composed of grass, brush, ponderosa pine and other mixed conifers.
The prime benefit of this prescribed fire is to ensure defensible space for the community of Wawona. Fire managers will utilize the area burned in last fall’s Jack Fire, areas which were recently thinned, and previously burned areas as natural barriers. These recent treatments will increase the margin of safety for firefighters by reducing fire intensity along the current project’s boundary.
Prescribed fire is designed to thin forests and reduce the accumulation of unnatural fuel loads, composed of dead and down trees and other vegetative forest litter. The prescribed fire will create a mosaic of diverse habitats for plants and animals and will help recycle nutrients, aiding in the sprouting and re-growth of plants, shrubs, and trees.
This project is the first of several spring prescribed burns in the park. Other projects are planned for areas around El Portal, Foresta, and the Hodgdon Meadow area.