PLACERVILLE, CA, October 5, 2017 – The Eldorado National Forest will begin its fall prescribed burn program as soon as weather conditions are favorable. Fire managers plan to burn approximately 16,140 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 burning can take place.
The 2017-2018 burn program includes the use of fire in three high priority restoration projects: the King Fire Restoration Project; the Caples Ecological Restoration Project; and the Power Fire Fuels Maintenance Study. Prescribed fire will be used to prepare sites for reforestation in the 2014 King Fire area; to reduce wildfire risk in the Caples Creek watershed which 110,000 consumers rely on for water supply; and to maintain fuel loads within the 2004 Power Fire area where fire historically burned every 10-15 years.
“Integrating the use of fire with other active management is important to achieving our goals of community protection, ecosystem health, and a productive working landscape,” said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. “We are committed to a balanced fire program that will reduce risk and realize the benefits of fire,” Crabtree added.
Prescribed fires are ignited after close evaluation of weather and fuel conditions, social 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: 2,085 acres of understory burning in the Power Fire, View 88, Mokey Bear, Tiger Creek, and Lost Horse prescribed fire projects; and 709 acres of pile burning in the View 88, Mokey Bear, Oski Bear, Goldfinger and other district pile burning projects. For more information, contact 209-295-4251.
- Placerville Ranger District: 1,995 acres of understory burning in the Caples, Iron Trap, Marshall Mine, Silver Saddle, and Institute of Forest Genetics prescribed fire projects; and 853 acres of pile burning in the Caples, Highway 50 Fuel Break, Rain Tree and Silver Fork roadside brushing projects. For more information,contact 530-644-2324.
- Pacific Ranger District: 473 acres of understory burning in the Wharf Whale prescribed fire project; and 5,654 acres of pile burning in Administrative/Recreation sites, and the King Fire Quidazoic and Trimburgh projects. For more information, contact 530-644-2349.
- Georgetown Ranger District: 1,123 acres of understory burning in the Tobacco Gulch, Georgetown Maintenance and Georgetown Compound prescribed fire projects; and 3,248 acres of pile burning in the King Fire 2 Chaix, Caesar, En Garde, and Pompeii projects, as well as the Smarty Jones, Big Meadow, and Dru Barner projects. For more information,contact 530-333-4312.
“We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Jay Kurth. “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 verify how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel.
The Forest Service recommends that people living in or near the forest contact the nearest ranger station if they have respiratory illness or think the smoke might adversely affect them. 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 receive a message when new information is posted. Project descriptions and maps of the burn units will also be posted on the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. For more information, contact Teresa Riesenhuber at (530) 621-5223, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.