Fuel burning program to begin at Bass Lake Ranger District

-- Sierra National ForestMarch 27, 2013 

The Sierra National Forest is preparing to implement the spring burning program at the Bass Lake Ranger District, which consists of pile and broadcast burning with objectives to reduce forest fuel concentration and introduce low intensity fire to the ecosystem.

Underburning projects proposed for the spring of 2013 are scheduled for the following locations:

Lone Sequoia located west of Highway 41 near the Westfall Fire Station.

Sugar Pine located east of Fish Camp and northeast of Sugar Pine community.

Source Kinsman located west of the Kinsman community.

Batterson and Jerseydale Administrative burns located at each of these stations.

"The objective of underburning is to reintroduce low intensity fire to the ecosystem on a rotational basis. These frequent fires maintain surface fuels at low levels and reduce small trees and other vegetation in the understory that could form fuel ladders, which are conducive to crown fires," said District Ranger Dave Martin.

Burning will be conducted in moderately unstable atmospheric conditions and on burn days to provide optimum smoke dispersal. Burning will stop if dispersion becomes a problem and suppression tactics employed if necessary. Stump holes and logs may be mopped up to reduce the smoldering phase of combustion. High use roads will be monitored for visibility hazards, and traffic control will be provided when necessary.

Pile burning projects are widely dispersed throughout the Bass Lake Ranger District. While many of the projects are located at the higher elevations of the district, some are near populated areas, and may result in a temporary reduction in air quality in the communities of Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee, North Fork, Kinsman and surrounding areas.

Burning will be conducted on burn days as determined by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, and the County Air Pollution Control District within Mariposa County.

Burn Day determinations are based on atmospheric conditions which provide optimum smoke dispersal, however, normal diurnal wind changes allow the settling of drift smoke in basins and drainages during the late night and early morning hours.

By limiting the number of piles ignited at one time, and by "mopping up" (extinguishing) smoldering piles, it is expected that emissions will not reach unacceptable levels. Actions to reduce visibility hazards include monitoring high use roads and providing traffic control if necessary.

For questions or further information, contact Burt Stalter at (559) 877-2218, extension 3208 at the Bass Lake District Headquarters in North Fork.

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