Oct. 6, 2016 – The Forest Service will begin its fall prescribed burn program in the Eldorado National Forest as soon as weather conditions are favorable. Fire managers plan to burn approximately, 12,671 acres of National Forest land this fall, winter and spring using a combination of understory and pile burning techniques. The actual number of acres burned will depend on weather and air quality conditions which may limit the number of days that burning can take place. The ambitious 2016 burn program includes an expanded scope of work associated with the King Fire Restoration Project and the Cohesive Strategy for the South Fork American River watershed.
“Prescribed fire is an important management tool for maintaining forest health and reducing fuels that could make future wildfires difficult to control,” said Fire Management Officer Jay Kurth. “There is increasing support for prescribed fire across California. The Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and many other organizations are all in agreement that we need more fire on the landscape under the right conditions to thin out the forest,” Kurth added. “This leads to larger, healthier trees that are more able to withstand wildfire, insects and disease.”
Prescribed fires are ignited when weather and fuel conditions will produce fire effects that will accomplish the restoration objectives set by forest ecologists. The prescribed burns that are planned will occur in the following Eldorado National Forest locations over the fall, winter and spring:
- Amador Ranger District: Lost Horse Prescribed Fire– 663 acres located on the north side of Hwy 88 across from Bear River road. View 88 Prescribed Fire – 379 acres in the Hwy 88 corridor. Mokey Bear Prescribed Fire – 175 acres just east of Lumberyard on Highway 88. Oski Bear Prescribed Fire – 200 acres south of Bear River Reservoir. Tiger Creek Fuel Reduction – 194 acres understory and pile burning. For more information contact 209-295-4251.
- Placerville Ranger District: Iron Trap Prescribed Fire – 545 acres located near the intersection of Mormon Emigrant Trail and Silver Fork Road; Marshall Mine Prescribed Fire – 130 acres located near Happy Valley and 893 acres near Baltic Ridge; Silver Saddle Prescribed Fire – 295 acres near Silver Fork road; Placerville District Pile Burn – approximately 750 acres of pile burning district wide. For more information contact 530-644-2324.
- Pacific Ranger District: Peninsula Prescribed Fire – 229 acres; Wharf Whale Prescribed Fire – 473 acres; and Pacific District Pile Burn -130 acres district wide. For more information contact 530-644-2349.
- Georgetown Ranger District: Georgetown Maintenance Prescribed Fire – 1,300 acres; Big Grizzly Prescribed Fire – 654 acres; Darling Eaglet Prescribed Fire – 365 acres; University Falls Prescribed Fire – 120 acres; Georgetown District Office Compound Prescribed Fire – 23 acres. King Fire Restoration Project Pile Burning – 4,615 acres in the King Fire burned area; Georgetown District Pile Burn – 538 acres district wide.For more information contact 530-333-4312.
“We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Kurth. “Efforts are made to ignite prescribed fires when weather patterns will carry smoke away from populated areas.”
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size. Project managers coordinate with state and local county air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions closely prior to and during prescribed fire projects. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel.
The Forest Service recommends that people living in or near the forest contact the nearest ranger station if they have respiratory illness or think the smoke might adversely affect them. These people will be placed on a “Sensitive Persons List” and will be notified of upcoming prescribed burning projects.
Prescribed fire updates will be posted on the forest Twitter account which can be viewed at www.twitter.com/EldoradoNF. Individuals who sign up to follow the forest Twitter account will receive a message when new information is posted. Project descriptions and maps of the burn units will also be posted on the forest website atwww.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. For more information, contact Teresa Riesenhuber at (530) 621-5223, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.