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Prescribed Burn To Protect Giant Sequoia In Calaveras County

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Arnold, CA — Evidenced in the southern Sierra Giant Sequoia groves, dry conditions, heavy fuel loads, and high-intensity wildfires have led to the loss of giant sequoias “at a rate not previously seen,” according to forest officials – prompting a push to safeguard these national treasures.

Already 10 to 14 percent of the world’s giant sequoias were lost in the Castle Fire that ripped through the Sequoia National Forest last summer. California State Parks and CAL Fire have joined forces to protect these magnificent evergreens at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County.  Next week visitors will find some areas of the park closed due to a prescribed burn, which is part of a series of burns planned for the park this fall.

Ignition will begin on Monday, October 18th with approximately 150 acres in the North Grove area to be burned over three to four days. There will be active firing with smoke, which could linger in the area several days after the burn. The Walter W. Smith Memorial Parkway and trails in the North Grove area will be closed during active firing.

Park officials note, “Prescribed fire is an important, proactive resource to protect giant sequoias, and the park, from the catastrophic destruction of wildfires. Prescribed burns reduce the fuel load, can help slow or stop wildfires in treated areas, and mimic a more natural, low-intensity fire which is necessary for new sequoia growth.”

This year’s burns are funded through a grant from CAL FIRE’s California Climate Investments Program in partnership with Save the Redwoods League. The Giant Sequoia Forest Resilience Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program funded by billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars, as detailed here.

Communities along the Highway 4 corridor near the park, including Arnold, Dorrington, Big Trees Village, White Pines, Blue Lake Springs, and Love Creek may experience smoke from the burning operations. For questions or comments about the project contact the Public Information Officer, Rhiannon Montgomery at (209) 213-9032.