PLACERVILLE, Calif. -The Eldorado National Forest will begin its annual prescribed burn program as soon as weather conditions are favorable. Fire managers plan to burn up to 7,000 acres of national forest land this fall, winter and spring using a combination of understory and pile burning techniques. The actual number of acres burned will depend on weather and air quality conditions which may limit the number of days that prescribed burning can take place.
The 2018-2019 burn program will include the continued use of prescribed fire in several high priority projects including the King Fire Restoration Project; the Caples Ecological Restoration Project; the Power Fire Fuels Maintenance Study; and the Roadrunner / Highway 50 Fuel Break. Last year, 7,097 acres of burning was accomplished, including 1,875 acres of understory burning, and 4,795 acres of pile burning.
“Prescribed fire is an important tool for achieving our goals of community protection, ecosystem health, and a productive working landscape,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “In areas where fuel loads are dangerously high, we often need to do mechanical thinning first to create conditions where fire will stay on the ground so we don’t lose too many trees.”
Prescribed fires are ignited after close evaluation of weather and fuel conditions, social, political and economic considerations, and other factors that influence fire behavior and the ecological effects of fire. Prescribed burning is planned for the following Eldorado National Forest locations throughout the fall, winter and spring:
- Amador Ranger District: understory burning in the Power Fire, Oski Bear, View 88, Moke, Lost Horse, and Tiger Creek prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the View 88, Power Reforestation, Foster Meadow, Prospect Rock, Bear, Silver Lake WUI, Callecat & Copy Cat, Mokey Bear, Goldfinger and Chips projects. For more information, contact 209-295-4251.
- Placerville Ranger District: understory burning in the Caples, Marshall Mine, Silver Saddle, and Iron Trap prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the Caples, Roadrunner / Highway 50 Fuel Break, and Trestle projects. For more information, contact 530-644-2324.
- Pacific Ranger District: understory burning in the Wharf Whale and Pacific & Crystal Compound prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the King Fire Restoration (Quidazoic), Trimburgh, Admin/Rec sites, SMUD, and Cleveland Icehouse projects. For more information, contact 530-644-2349.
- Georgetown Ranger District: understory burning in the Georgetown Maintenance, Tobacco Gulch, Big Grizzly and Georgetown Compound prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the King Fire Restoration Project (2 Chaix, Caesar, En Garde, Younger and Pompeii piles), as well as Donaldson Park and other district pile burning. For more information, contact 530-333-4312.
A map of the burn project locations is available on the forest website.
“We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Acting Fire Management Officer Nickie Johnny. “Efforts are made to ignite prescribed fires when weather patterns will disperse smoke more quickly so it has less effect on populated areas.”
Project managers coordinate with state and local county air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions to ensure that burning takes place on the best days for smoke dispersion. Smoke from prescribed fire operations is shorter term, and less intense than during a large wildfire. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to see how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel.
The Forest Service recommends that people with respiratory illness or adversely affected by smoke and living in or near the Eldorado National Forest should contact the nearest ranger station. These people will be placed on a “Sensitive Persons List” and will be notified of upcoming prescribed burning projects.
Prescribed fire updates will be posted on the forest Twitter account which can be viewed at www.twitter.com/EldoradoNF. Individuals who sign up to follow the forest Twitter account will also receive a message when new information is posted.
Project descriptions and maps of the burn units will also be posted on the Eldorado National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado . Look for the “Prescribed Burn Program” link on the right side of the page. Those who do not have personal social media accounts can also find the forest’s Twitter and Facebook posts on the forest website. For more information, contact Teresa Riesenhuber at (530) 621-5223, or email at email@example.com.