North Fork, California, October 24, 2017 - “The Sierra National Forest, Bass Lake Ranger District, is preparing for the fall, winter, and spring burning program,” said District Ranger Denise Tolmie, “projects will consist of three activities: pile burning, broadcast, and underburning.”
The objectives will be to reduce fuel loading from recent tree morality, and hazard removal projects within the Wildland Urban Intermix and high use recreation areas around Bass Lake. Site preparation for reforestation within these areas, and within the French Fire footprint will also be accomplished with these burns.
Several projects proposed for the fall, winter, and spring of 2017-18, include the Source-Kinsman Underburn located south and west of Clearwater station in the upper Clearwater Creek drainage, and the Batterson and Jerseydale Administrative burns located at each of these ranger stations. Pile burning projects are dispersed throughout the Ranger District, and could begin as early as November 1, 2017. Many of these projects are located at higher elevations, with some near populated areas, and may result in a temporary reduction in air quality affecting the communities of Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Bass Lake, Ahwahnee, and North Fork. The project objectives are to remove fuels created during timber harvest, reforestation, and fuels reduction. Removal of these fuels provides a benefit by reducing the potential of extreme wildfire in the summer months that would cause damage to private property, wildlife habitat, and watershed.
Burning will be conducted on burn days as determined by the San Joaquin Valley Unified Air Pollution Control District, and the Mountain Counties Air Pollution Control District which covers 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.
You can learn more about air quality and daily smoke updates by visiting either www.airnow.gov or www.valleyair.org. Actions will be taken to reduce visibility hazards include monitoring high use roads, and providing traffic control if necessary.
For questions or concerns, please contact District Fuels Specialist Gloria Smith at 559-877-2218, ext. #3103 at the Bass Lake Ranger District office in North Fork or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.