Forest Service burning near Markleeville |

Forest Service burning near Markleeville

Staff Reports

As part of the Carson Ranger District’s hazardous fuels reduction project, Forest Service fire crews will begin prescribed fire burns near Grover’s Hot Spring State Park in the Markleeville area, in Alpine County, Calif., starting this week and running through April. Besides smoke and short-term reduced air quality, visitors and residents may experience travel delays near the burns.

“Prescribed fire is an efficient way of removing woody debris, providing ecosystem benefits, and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and risk to firefighters in the event of a large fire,” said Steve Howell, District fuels specialist.

While the project may temporarily reduce air quality, Howell said air quality levels will comply with all state and federal air quality regulations and burns will be done during weather conditions that minimize impacts of smoke on communities.

Following burns, residents can expect to see some brown needles on the lower portions of tree crowns and some dead trees. But Howell said trees with the brown needles on the lower sections of the crown aren’t dead, and the needles will fall off over time. He added the idea is to allow for fire to naturally prune the tree’s crown, lessening the chance of mortality in a large wildfire.

About 20 acres of understory vegetation will be treated using Forest Service hand crews and engines. Prescribed fire notices have been posted near residences near the project area.

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