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RAW: Prescribed burn set for Tuesday near Yosemite's Big Oak Flat

June 15, 2012

Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are planning a prescribed fire in the
northwestern portion of the park near the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station on
Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

The ignition of the fire is dependent on weather conditions. The total prescribed burn area will include 220 acres and be split into two units. The prescribed
area is at the optimal fuel moisture level to successfully complete the
project. This will be the first prescribed burn of the 2012 fire season.

The two units have minimal fire history between 1930 and 1990, although
natural fire history is evident in the area by fire scars on several mature
trees.

Since 1990, a hazardous fuel reduction program has been implemented
to protect private and public structures around the Hodgdon Wildland Urban
Interface (WUI).

The most recent projects were last summer with over 500
acres being treated. A mixture of fuel reduction techniques have been used
including mechanical thinning, pile burning and prescribed burning. These
WUI treatments have created defensible space for the Hodgdon residential
area.

This project will not only extend the defensible space, but also
facilitate the reintroduction of fire into the ecosystem and restore the
forest area. Combined with other burns near Crane Flat, and Rockefeller
Grove areas, and with the fuel reduction projects conducted by the
Stanislaus National Forest along Evergreen Road, this project will further
reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fire originating at lower elevations,
either inside or outside of the park affecting communities in mixed confer
pine forest.

It is estimated that the burn will take approximately three days to
complete.

Smoke from the burn may be visible throughout the park, but may
be more evident in the northern portion of the park. Smoke, affecting
health, is always a consideration in the decision to schedule prescribed
fires.

A smoke management plan has been submitted to the Tuolumne County
Air Pollution Control District, and a burn permit has been issued. Smoke
monitors will be placed in and around the area of the prescribed fire to
monitor Yosemite’s air quality.

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