Yosemite, CA…Yosemite National Park fire managers are planning a 61 acre Ahwahnee Meadow prescribed burn in the coming week. Ignition will take approximately one day and an additional two to four days of active burn down. Smoke will be present during the prescribed fire and in Yosemite Valley. Fire managers are working with the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District (MCAPCD) to time the project to coincide with favorable weather that will facilitate good air quality. Smoke, affecting health, is always a consideration in the decision to schedule prescribed fires. Prior to ignition, a burn permit will be issued to Yosemite by MCAPCD. Community members who are sensitive to smoke may want to close their windows and doors and/or consider leaving the area during active ignition of the project in order to reduce their exposure.
Historically, natural fire burned an average of 16,000 acres annually in Yosemite National Park and played an integral role in shaping Yosemite’s ecosystem. Yosemite’s Fire Management program is designed to balance the protection of life, property, and natural and cultural resources with the continuation of fire as a natural process. Due to decades of fire suppression (actively putting out any fire that starts), many areas have become overgrown, unhealthy, and increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.
The objective of this prescribed burn is ecosystem restoration. American Indians frequently used fire in this area to shape the landscape to their uses. Applying fire under prescribed conditions mimics the frequent, low intensity, lightning caused fires that used to occur. Fire also allows for the recycling of nutrients to the soil, which encourages the germination and regrowth of plants, shrubs and trees.
Park employees, community members, and visitors can expect to see fire personnel from various federal and state agencies conducting burn operations during the Ahwahnee Meadow Prescribed Fire.