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Monday, August 8, 2011

YNP: Yosemite Managed #Wildland Fires / Perimeter Map #CaFire

Yosemite Fires - Update #9 – August 8, 2011

Yosemite Wildland Fires Perimeter Map
Avalanche Fire: (37 39.794 x 119 42.238; 6,400’el. Mariposa Co.)  This lightning caused fire was found on the afternoon of July 31, 2011.  The fire is at 149 acres. The fire could potentially grow to 5,800 acres.

A single standing dead tree (snag) was struck by lightning. It is located near Avalanche Creek, east of the Glacier Point Rd. and is approximately 1 mile north of the Wawona Rd. at Chinquapin.  The fire is within the park’s Wilderness boundary and will be managed for multiple objectives.  The fire is creeping and smoldering through duff and other surface fuels.  Smoke is visible from many locations along the Wawona and Big Oak Flat Roads, and from the community of El Portal.  

Combined with previous fires, roadside mechanical thinning, vegetation debris pile burning, and prescribed fires, this fire will provide a defensible fire buffer to the community of Yosemite West, Badger Pass Ski Resort, Glacier Point and other park infrastructures.  Although numerous fires have occurred in the area, the most recent being the 2009, 3,500 ac. Grouse Fire, this area has no recorded fire history.  Extensive logging did occur in the early 1900’s.  Fire crews continue to gather weather, fuel moistures and other fire data for fire managers to determine operational strategies. Wilderness values will be considered through the use of the Minimum Tool Requirement Analysis and the use of natural barriers to maintain the fire’s perimeter.

Another rational for this fire is to restore landscape resiliency in a portion of the park that has not burned in recent history.  Lightning caused Wildland fires frequently occur during the summer months in Yosemite.  Fire is a natural part of the Sierra Nevada ecosystem.  These kinds of fires have shaped the forest landscape for thousands of years.  The fire will rid the forest of an overabundance of dead and down surface fuels and smaller diameter shade tolerant trees. Wildland fires create open spaces (mosaics) within dense forest, allowing sunlight to penetrate the forest floor.  The fire will enhance wildlife habitat and the ability of animals to move through the forest.

These goals are consistent with the current Yosemite Fire Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement.

Smoke will be visible.  Yosemite’s Division of Resources and Sciences crews have installed air quality monitoring equipment within the communities of Yosemite West, El Portal and Yosemite Valley.  Fire managers are working closely with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District concerning potential air quality impacts.  

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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