California State Parks in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced plans today to conduct prescribed burns in Calaveras Big Trees State Park with work expected to begin as early as October 20, 2022. This is part of a series of prescription burns planned for the park this fall.
The projects will cover approximately 184 acres in the North Grove area and along Highway 4. Ignition is dependent on weather conditions and resources. The units have been prepared for prescription burns. Active firing is expected to last three to five days; however, smoke will remain in the area for some time after active firing has stopped. Visitors should expect Walter W. Smith Memorial Parkway and a portion of the North Grove Trail to be closed or restricted during active firing.
Prescribed fire is an important, proactive resource to protect giant sequoias, and the park, from the catastrophic destruction of wildfires. As evidenced in the southern Sierra groves, dry conditions, heavy fuel loads, and high-intensity wildfires have led to the loss of giant sequoias at a rate not previously seen. Prescribed burns reduce the fuel load, can help slow or stop wildfires in treated areas, and mimic a more natural, low-intensity fire which is necessary for new sequoia growth.