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Yosemite National Park will start debris pile burning Monday, May 16, 2011. Pile burning locations will initially include Foresta, a small community surrounded by the park. Future pile burning will occur in the Merced Grove, as well as multiple areas along the Wawona Road such as, Bills Hill, Camp Wawona, and the South Entrance.
Piles of debris are typically burned during the spring and fall when the weather conditions are cooler and there is a higher amount of precipitation. Burn piles generally consist of down and dead forest material, such as tree limbs, logs, and brush. A maximum of 200 piles may be burned in one day. Each 100 piles burned equals roughly 1 acre of dead and down debris.
Pile burning is beneficial for clearing forest undergrowth and reducing fuels. It provides an opportunity to clear the roadways from overhanging vegetation thereby creating a safer environment for motorists, as well as allowing the sun to reach the road which in turn helps the winter ice melt faster. In addition, pile burning can create fuel breaks that may be utilized during future prescribed fires in the area.
Temperatures over the next few weeks will remain cool, with sporadic rain predicted. Visitors and the surrounding communities should expect minimal smoke due to the pile burning in the Yosemite area.
For more information on fire in Yosemite National Park, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm