Nevada City, Calif., May 9, 2017 – The Yuba River Ranger District, part of the Tahoe National Forest, will conduct a series of prescribed fires this spring to reduce build-up of hazardous fuels and continue ecological restoration. Planned projects include low-to-moderate intensity understory burns of forest litter and vegetation on the forest floor.
We plan to implement 200 acres of understory burning in the Camptonville and Pendola areas, as well as 200 acres of understory burning in locations along the Highway 20 corridor in the areas of Harmony Ridge Market, Rock Creek Trail, and Skillman Campground. Careful consideration of fuels and weather conditions will dictate specifically which unit(s) we ignite.
The extraordinarily wet winter of 2016-2017 has diminished the spring wildfire threat and has given us a great opportunity to conduct prescribed fire operations with the goals of reducing the severity of future wildfires and providing added protection for communities in the wildland urban interface. In addition, prescribed fire will help to promote a diverse and more resilient forest and improve habitat for wildlife. The Forest Service is also working to reduce fuels by thinning dense stands of trees and brush using mechanical thinning, mastication, and hand removal of vegetation throughout the Forest.
Cooler temperatures and ground fuels that are just becoming dry enough to carry low-intensity fire make spring an ideal time to conduct prescribed burning. All prescribed fire projects are conducted in accordance with an approved prescribed fire burn plan. Burn plans describe the specific conditions under which burns will be conducted, including the weather, number of personnel and opportunities to minimize smoke impacts.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after ignitions. Smoke settles in low lying areas at night and into the morning and usually lifts out during normal daytime warming. All prescribed fires are monitored closely for burning and smoke dispersal conditions and, if necessary, action is taken to mitigate concerns as they arise. Forest Service fuels management personnel work closely with the California Air Resources Board and the local air quality management districts to minimize smoke impacts to communities. Crews also conduct small test burns before igniting a larger area to verify how effectively fuels will be consumed and how smoke will travel.
If you would like to learn more about prescribed fire versus wildfire, please visit www.smokeybear.com/prescribed-fires.asp.