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Yosemite National Park will start debris pile burning today, October 5, 2011. Pile burning locations will initially include the communities of Foresta, El Portal, and Wawona. Other pile burning locations include Chinquapin, the Merced Grove, the Mariposa Grove, and along many park roads throughout the park.
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 from the forest floor.
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 are expected to remain cool, with sporadic rain predicted. Visitors and the surrounding communities should expect minimal smoke due to the pile burning throughout Yosemite. Yosemite continues to work with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District on this project.
For more information on fire in Yosemite National Park, please visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/firemanagement.htm.