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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Park - Whitaker Prescribed Fire

Sequoia - Kings Canyon National Park
National Park Service 

Incident Overview
Fire crews plan to begin ignitions on the Whitaker Prescribed Fire, weather and air quality conditions permitting, on Thursday, June 21, 2012. 
 This is an interagency project being completed in cooperation by the National Park Service and the Center for Forestry, which is part of UC Berkeley's College of Natural Resources.
 This 504 acre unit (429 acres on park land, 75 acres on UC Center for Forestry land) is in the Redwood Mountain Grove. The project is located south of the Whitaker Forest Road, east of US Forest Service Road 14S34, and takes advantage of the 2011 Redwood Mountain Prescribed Fire for control lines to the west. Ignitions will be completed over a four day period by National Park Service crews.
Basic Information
Incident Type: Prescribed Fire
Size: 504 acres

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks News Release
For Immediate Release – June 19, 2012
Deb Schweizer (559) 565-3703
Whitaker Prescribed Fire Planned
Fire crews plan to begin ignitions on the Whitaker Prescribed Fire, weather and air quality conditions 
permitting, on Thursday, June 21, 2012. This is an interagency project being completed in cooperation by 
the National Park Service and the Center for Forestry, which is part of UC Berkeley’s College of Natural 
Resources. 
This 504 acre unit (429 acres on park land, 75 acres on UC Center for Forestry land) is in the Redwood 
Mountain Grove. The project is located south of the Whitaker Forest Road, east of US Forest Service 
Road 14S34, and takes advantage of the 2011 Redwood Mountain Prescribed Fire for control lines to the 
west. Ignitions will be completed over a four day period by National Park Service crews.
Redwood Mountain is home to one of the largest giant sequoia groves in the world and is also the 
birthplace of prescribed fire in the western United States. Starting in 1963 and 1964, researchers for both 
National Park Service and University of California land first studied the need for fire to sustain giant 
sequoia. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks began using prescribed fires in 1968. By monitoring 
change following the Whitaker Prescribed Fire, scientists and managers will further improve our
understanding of the complex relationship between fire and giant sequoia.
Historically, fire occurred in the mixed conifer forest of this drainage approximately every seven to 
fifteen years. Most of the park lands were last burned in the 1970s. However, the segment on UC 
Berkeley land has no recorded fire history. Because of the lack of recent fire and the opportunity for 
research, this area is of especially high priority for conducting a prescribed fire for UC Berkeley. This 
project will reduce the amount of forest fuels that could feed an unwanted fire and create conditions that 
are better suited for giant sequoia regeneration.
The western loop of the Sugar Bowl Trail Redwood Mountain will be closed during the project. All other 
trails including the Big Springs Trail and the Hart Tree Trail remain open. However, hikers should expect 
smoke in the area while ignitions are completed and the fire smolders down. Drivers on the Redwood 
Saddle Road may experience temporary delays due to smoke.
Fire managers work closely with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to select the best 
air quality windows and reduce local impacts. Visitors and residents should expect smoke impacts in the 
Redwood Canyon and Kings Canyon Overlook area in the day and towards Pinehurst, Dunlap, Eshom 
Valley and the North Fork of the Kaweah River at night. Those who are sensitive to smoke or have preexisting respiratory problems should limit their outdoor activities, particularly in the morning, and keep 
windows closed during the fire.

 For more information about how to limit exposure to smoke, please visit 
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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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