Here we are talking about the Beginning of Prescribed Burning by Bass Lake Ranger District. The Sierra National Forest’s fire personnel have finished their fire assignments and are now available to help and oversee regional controlled fire programs in light of the state and national fire activity’s decline.
In the Sierra National Forest, this activity is a proactive strategy for managing fire and vegetation (fuels), reducing the severity and impact of catastrophic wildfires that occur throughout the year, improving resource conditions, and enhancing protection for our mountain communities.
Early December is when Sierra Fire Managers anticipate starting ignitions. As long as the weather, effects of smoke dispersion and availability of fire resources permit, active ignitions will continue throughout the winter and spring months, from December to March.
If circumstances stay favorable for programmed fire activity, ignitions may continue into the spring months of March through May. To time the project to meet favorable weather conditions and smoke dispersion, the U.S. Forest Service coordinates all burning activities with the Mariposa County and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the National Weather Service in Hanford.
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Additionally, cooperation with Cal Trans and regional law enforcement organizations to maintain traffic flow on Highway 41 as well as on Bass Lake Roads 274 and 223. These project locations can be found all around the district in Madera and Mariposa Counties.
Although not restricted to this region, fire managers and fire firefighters will concentrate their efforts on Bass Lake and the piles that resulted from the Madera county roadways project. Burning will also be carried out to aid in the recovery and restoration of regions affected by recent fires, such as the Washburn, Oak Creek, and Railroad fires.
The goal of prescribed fire is to eliminate vegetation (fuel) buildups brought on by fires, wood harvesting, and the aforementioned tree mortality. In order to slow the spread of wildfires into nearby communities like Jerseydale, Ponderosa Basin, Sugar Pine, Fish Camp, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, North Fork, and Oakhurst, these burns are carried out close to the urban-rural interface.
They are part of an ongoing wildfire defense system across the forest. Firefighters have a secure environment to carry out suppression tasks thanks to this fuel reduction action. In order to encourage ecosystem health, restoration, and resilience, recurring interventions are required. Conditions are currently favorable for starting controlled fires and other prescribed fire activity in several project locations due to winter moisture.
Some project sites need additional winter moisture, so burning won’t start there until the conditions are right. The villages of North Fork, Ponderosa Basin, Jerseydale, Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Sugar Pine, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee, and neighboring areas may experience a temporary decline in air quality as a result of these efforts.
From a stretch of Highways 140, 49, and 41 as well as other important thoroughfares around the district, burning operations will be visible. The foothill and mountain settlements in Mariposa County, Bass Lake, and North Fork in the Madera County region may also have smoke visible from a variety of vantage points.
While the project is required to burn for a number of days, it will be patrolled and watched over every day until all traces of smoke and heat have disappeared. Prior to each controlled burn ignition, the Forest Service will publish a notice on its Facebook page. Signs will also be strategically placed nearby to alert locals and the general public of these operations for both public and firefighter safety.
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