Image above: Prescribed burning on the Sierra National Forest. Image by Adam Hernandez, Sierra National Forest.
The Sierra National Forest is proposing to apply prescribed fire to land within the Sierra National Forest (outside of Wilderness designated areas). The prescribed burning would occur annually over the next 15-20 years and would occur on up to 50,000 acres per year.
The history of the planning for the project can be viewed on the Forest Service NEPA page for the project (see link to the right). A current draft of the project can be downloaded here, this has not been published yet and is still in progress. We will update this site when the project is finalized.
Opportunities for applying prescribed fire will be prioritized and scheduled as necessary in any given year based on priority and need. Prescribed burning would be conducted within established guidelines law, regulation, and policy and consistent with the Forest Plan.
The overarching purpose of the project is to restore a healthy, diverse, fire-resilient forest structure in the Sierra National Forest. The Forest Service has identified the need to address ecosystem health issues by increasing the pace and scale of prescribed fire across the forest towards a goal of prescribed burning of 20,000 to 50,000 acres annually. More specifically, there is a need to:
· Restore historic fire patterns and frequencies at the landscape scale
· To increase resiliency and overall health of vegetation with concordant benefits of providing quality wildlife habitat,
· Minimize the potential for uncharacteristic wildfires by reducing surface and ladder fuels and breaking up contiguous vegetation, especially in areas of recent tree mortality, and
· Address public health and safety impacts from uncharacteristic wildfires, including reducing risk for fire-fighters, reducing major impacts to air quality, and reducing risk to communities and community assets.
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