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Postponed Big Trees Burn Begins This Week

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Arnold, CA — Smoke from planned seasonal burns will be visible in Highway 4 corridor communities come Wednesday.

According to California State Parks and CAL Fire officials, prescribed burn activities at Calaveras Big Trees State Park planned to commence the week of Oct. 21 will begin by midweek with a goal to complete 382 acres through the fall.

Pile burning will also take place through the season and extend through next spring in the North and South Grove and along the Big Trees Village and Blue Lake Spring park boundaries.

All these operations will be conducted during favorable weather when there are adequate resources and as other conditions allow. The activities were postponed due to recent red flag warnings and public safety power shutoffs.

Communities near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, including Dorrington, Big Trees Village, White Pines, Blue Lake Spring, and Arnold may experience smoke from the burning operations. Officials note they will be working with local air pollution control districts to limit impacts to smoke sensitive areas.

Residents and motorists who use Highway 4 and the Walter W. Smith Parkway need to be aware that while they will remain open there may be some travel delays due to smoke and other hazards, and that the parkway may experience short-term closures.

During the prescribed burn operations, some public campsites and dirt roads near the burn areas will be closed to public access, including the East and West Moran Roads, East and West 5000 Foot Roads, and the South Rim Road. Please obey all warning signs.

Officials describe the burns as part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel load reduction, and wildlife habitat improvement. They are conducted with goals of enhancing forest health by removing diseased materials, restoring essential nutrients to the soil, and reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire. Additional benefits include protection for the Big Trees facilities and the North Grove of giant sequoias.

Much of the funding for the work is coming through Propositions 84 and 1 grants from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.