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Yosemite Outlines Spring Prescribed Burns To Put Off Smoke

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Noting that 50 years of research has taught park managers that suppressing all fires results in unnatural fuel buildup increasing fire severity, Yosemite National Park officials outline its Spring Prescribed Fire and Fuels Projects 2020.

Related to pile burning in the park, it will as long as conditions allow in the Yosemite Valley and Wawona community. The piles are made up of brush from forestry operations and large-scale landscape restoration projects throughout the park. Smoke billowing up from the piles will continue until the piles are completely consumed, according to park officials, which could last several months.

Additionally, in the Wawona area crews are creating new burn piles for the Section 35 Fuels project. Chainsaws can be heard in the area as workers are cutting dead and down vegetation and then piling it for future burning. Travelers and residents are asked to use caution around crews and heavy equipment in the area.

Set to begin burning this spring, crews are also preparing for the Crane Flat Prescribed Fire near Crane Flat lookout between the Tioga Road and Big Oak Flat Road. A total of 670 acres will be set ablaze through hand firing with drip torches and a helicopter using an aerial ignition device. No start date has been scheduled yet for this project due to weather and firefighter availability.

Smoke will be visible in the burn areas during these projects, but park officials note that prescribed fire puts off significantly less smoke than if a wildfire were to occur.