California State Parks in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are planning a prescribed burn on 41 acres adjacent to Big Trees Creek from June 13 to June 14, according to a Calaveras Big Trees State Park press release.

Communities near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, including Dorrington, Big Trees Village, White Pines, Blue Lake Spring and Arnold may experience smoke from the burning operations. California State Parks is working with the Calaveras and Tuolumne County Air Pollution Control Districts to limit impacts to smoke sensitive areas.

Both Highway 4 and the Walter W. Smith Parkway will remain open but may experience delays due to smoke and other hazards. The park encourages residents to obey all warning signs.

The 41 acres were previously thinned to reduce the fuel loading and allow for a safer and more controllable broadcast burn. The work was funded through Proposition 84 and a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency.

The burn project is part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel load reduction and wildlife habitat improvement.

“Prescribed burns enhance the health of the forest by removing diseased materials, restoring essential nutrients to the soil and reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire,” the release reads. “Through forest thinning and reduction of fire fuels, an ecologically healthy forest system can be maintained. Additional benefits of this prescribed burn include protection for the North Grove of giant sequoias and the Big Trees Village subdivision.”

Prescribed burns produce significantly less smoke than wildfires. To minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities, burns are planned and coordinated with the Calaveras County Air District. All burning depends on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions, such as weather or vegetation are not conducive for burning, the burns will be rescheduled.

Questions or comments about the projects or about the prescribed burn program should be directed to Heather Reith at (209) 768-5217 or Ben Jacobs at (209) 795-8905.

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