Sonora, CA…Weather and air quality conditions permitting, U.S. Forest Service fire crews will begin ignitions on wood piles this month in various locations throughout the Calaveras, Summit, Mi-Wok and Groveland Ranger Districts on the Stanislaus National Forest. Specific areas where piles are located include administrative sites, areas adjacent to roads, along forest boundaries, within the Rim Fire footprint, and along transmission and distribution lines. The purpose of these prescribed fires is to reduce the buildup of flammable forest fuels, create defensible space near communities, provide safe and effective areas for fire suppression, and improve wildlife habitat while restoring fire to the fire dependent Sierra Nevada ecosystem.
Hand and machine piles may be ignited throughout the winter and spring as long as conditions allow. The number of piles ignited daily will vary based on weather, fuel moisture and other environmental conditions and permissible air quality burn days. Areas will be treated using low-intensity prescribed fire. Smoke may be visible from primary roadways including Highway 120, Highway 4, and Highway 108. Smoke may also be visible from secondary roads and in the surrounding communities.
Prescribed burning is an effective, cost efficient method of reducing flammable forest fuels, improving firefighting capabilities, and reducing the impacts of uncharacteristic wildfire. Prescribed fires are also used for restoring, enhancing and sustaining a healthy forest ecosystem through reintroducing fire as a component of ecosystem dynamics. By burning during cooler and wetter times of the year, these burns are less intense, easier to control and produce significantly less smoke than a wildfire during the summer months. The U.S. Forest Service complies with all local, state and federal air quality regulations during burn events and works closely with local air quality districts and the California Air Resources Board to mitigate the effects of smoke on the public.
We will send out updated information when conditions allow for prescribed fire ignitions and where they will occur. For more information or concerns about prescribed burns, please call the: Mi-Wok Ranger District at 209-586-3234, Calaveras Ranger District at 209-795-1381, Groveland Ranger District at 209-962-7825, Summit Ranger District at 209-965-3434 or the Stanislaus Supervisor’s Office at: 209-532-3671.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of
present and future generations.