Yosemite National Park’s first prescribed fire of the season will be ignited Tuesday near the park’s Big Oak Flat entrance station on Highway 120, assuming weather conditions are right.
The total burn area will cover 220 acres. The area is at the optimal fuel moisture level now to successfully complete the project, said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.
The burn is expected to take about three days to complete. Smoke may be visible throughout the park but more evident in the northern portion.
A smoke management plan has been submitted to the Tuolumne County Air Pollution Control District, and a permit has been issued. Smoke monitors will be placed in and around the fire to monitor air quality.
Since 1990, a hazardous-fuel reduction program has been implemented to protect private and public structures around the nearby Hodgdon Wildland Urban Interface. The most recent projects were last summer, with more than 500 acres being treated.
A mixture of fire-fuel reduction techniques are used, including mechanical thinning, pile burning and prescribed burning.
The goal is to create a fire buffer for the Hodgdon residential area. It will also reintroduce fire into the ecosystem and restore the forest.
Combined with other burns near the Crane Flat and Rockefeller Grove areas, and with fuel reduction projects conducted by Stanislaus National Forest personnel along Evergreen Road, the project will further reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fire at lower elevations inside and outside of the park, which would affect nearby communities, Gediman said.