Giant Sequoia Emergency Response Pile Burning to begin in Bearskin Grove

Sequoia National Forest crews will begin burning piles Thursday, June 15, in Bearskin Grove in the Hume Lake Ranger District as part of the Giant Sequoia Emergency Response. If conditions are favorable, crews will start igniting approximately 1000 piles on Thursday, June 15, through Tuesday, June 20.

Forest personnel are working closely with San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to manage smoke production and reduce the impact on communities, roads, and Highways. Crews will be on-site to ensure the fire doesn’t escape the piles and burn into other areas. Although piles may smolder and burn for several days after ignition, crews will monitor them until they are declared out.

The Giant Sequoia Emergency Response is an ongoing effort that USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore approved on July 22, 2022, to expedite the implementation of approximately 13,377 acres of fuels reduction treatments in 12 Giant Sequoia groves (11 Sequoia National Forest groves and one grove on the Sierra National Forest). The objective of this emergency response is to reduce the wildfire risk that currently threatens the Giant Sequoia groves. To date, crews have reduced fuels on more than 1,500 acres in 11 Sequoia National Forest groves, over 4,400 giant sequoias have been treated, and more than 7,600 piles prepared for prescribed burning. To date, crews have burned over 3300 piles in the Indian Basin, Black Mountain, Belknap, and Long Meadow groves.

Wildfires have killed almost 20% of the largest giant sequoia trees in the world in the last two years. Giant sequoias need low to moderate-severity fires to be healthy; however, fire exclusion over the previous 150 years and expansive tree mortality from drought have created conditions putting most giant sequoia groves on the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument extremely vulnerable to high-severity fire. This project focuses on the 11 sequoia groves at the highest risk of stand-replacing fire in the short term.

For more information about the Giant Sequoia Emergency Response, contact Gretchen Fitzgerald at [email protected].

Stay informed by following the Sequoia National Forest webpage at, Facebook @SequoiaNF, and Twitter @sequoiaforest.

Types of prescribed fire

The three general types of prescribed fire are pile burning, understory/underburning, and broadcast burning. They all help decrease the threat of high-intensity, high-severity wildfires; reduce the risk of insect and disease outbreaks; recycle nutrients that increase soil productivity; and improve wildlife habitat. Another benefit resulting from prescribed fire is a reduction in wildfire danger to local communities.

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