Smoke Due to Prescribed Burns Near Sherwin Range: More Coming This Winter

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

The smoke east of Mammoth near the Sherwin Range today, Nov. 30, is due to a fire crews burning piles of logs and brush that have been stacked up and cured during the summer months.

The piles were cut and stacked during the summer as a way to thin the forest, thereby making it less likely to burn in a wildfire during the hot summer months.

In this case, crews are working near Sherwin Creek, but over the course of the winter, as long as the snow does not get too deep, fire crews will burn other piles scattered throughout the forest surrounding Mammoth and other communities.

Today, Nov. 30, weather and air quality conditions permitting, fire crews plan to burn up to 64 acres of piles today along the Sherwin Creek area near the Mammoth Motocross in Mammoth Lakes, according to the Inyo National Forest. Smoke will be visible from Mammoth Mountain, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, along Highway 395, and the nearby vicinity.

Crews thinned Jeffrey pine, white fir, and lodgepole to reduce continuous fuels for nearby developed areas. This also encourages better forest health by reducing the trees’ competition for sunlight, nutrients, and water. Recent rain and snow provides the safest window to complete these piles.

California is a fire-prone and fire-adapted environment. Thinning and pile burning helps fire crews prepare for fires in the summer months, creates a safer response area for them, and reduces the risk to property in the wildland-urban interface.

Fire crews work with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District to burn under favorable conditions for smoke dispersal.