Stanislaus crews light fires

archive_import /


The U.S. Forest Service last week took advantage of the cooler days and moist air to burn off some of the duff and brush from the Stanislaus National Forest.

Two prescribed burns one about four miles south of Long Barn in Tuolumne County and the other six miles west of Bear Valley in Calaveras County danced across the forest floor to clean it of undergrowth that could fuel a dangerous fire later this summer.

The fire near Long Barn was scheduled to finish during the weekend, and Forest Service officials there hoped to burn 450 acres. The fires near Bear Valley are scheduled to wrap up early this week, and Calaveras fire teams hoped to burn about 500 acres.

"This week has been really good for us," said Rob Lang, resource protection officer on Mi-Wok Ranger District. "All the elements have just fallen into place."

Lang said the late rainy season and relatively cool days last week kept brush moisture at the right level to fuel small burns but prevent flames from leaping into the treetops.

Also, no large fires have ignited yet in the West, so the Stanislaus is full of firefighters to tend to the controlled burns and ensure nothing escapes.

Foothill firefighters are often sent to help other crews battle catastrophic blazes during the summer. But for prescribed burns, Lang said, he needs a well-stocked firefighting staff on hand in case flames jump out of control.

"We have to plan for, hypothetically, if we lost it," Lang said.

The area burned near Long Barn is a tree plantation stocked in the 1960s after the Wright's Creek Fire engulfed the plot the decade before.

The stand was thinned four or five years ago, Lang said, meaning logging crews cut and removed smaller trees and brush from the site. Clearing this understory helped reduce the fuel load that built up over more than four decades.

"We could not do this unless it was thinned first," said Tim Adamiak, fuels officer on Mi-Wok Ranger District. Prescribed burns clear the area of debris after thinning crews have left the forest, like vacuuming a carpet between deep-cleaning shampoos.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Sunday May 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s deputies respond to alarm at Sonora KFC


Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded with guns drawn to a holdup alarm ... more

Avalon Care Center fined for patient death


Avalon Care Center in Sonora has been fined $80,000 by the California ... more

UPDATE: Probe begins in Don Pedro fire


Investigators began sifting through the rubble of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency ... more

Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire


Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Deputies visit schools, build community ties


You would think Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nate Yorston was Santa Claus ... more