Eldorado National Forest Continues Annual Prescribed Burn Program

Contact(s): Kristi Schroeder, 530 622-5061

The Eldorado National Forest will continue its annual prescribed burn program as weather conditions allow. In December, pile burning is planned for the following districts:

  • Placerville Ranger District – Highway 50 Fuelbreak project along Highway 50.
  • Georgetown Ranger District - King Fire Restoration projects in the areas of Stumpy Meadows, Poho Ridge, Balderston road, Wentworth Springs road, and the Tobacco Gulch project along Darling Ridge road.
  • Pacific Ranger District – Quidazoic project in the King Fire perimeter, Trimburgh Roadside Salvage, and SMUD facilities in the Crystal Basin.
  • Amador Ranger District – Along Highway 88, Foster Meadows, Cat Creek, and Power Fire areas.

According to fire managers up to 7,000 acres of national forest land is prepared and available to prescribed burn this winter and spring if conditions allow. This will be accomplished using a combination of understory and pile burning techniques. The actual number of acres burned will depend on weather and air quality conditions which limits the number of days that prescribed burning can take place.

The 2019-2020 burn program will include the continued use of prescribed fire in several high priority projects including the King Fire Restoration Project; the Power Fire Fuels Maintenance Study; the Marshall Mine Fuels Reduction Project, and the Highway 50 Fuelbreak Project.

"Prescribed fire is an important tool for achieving our goals of community protection, ecosystem health, and a productive working landscape," said Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree. "In areas where fuel loads are dangerously high, we often need to do mechanical thinning first to create more manageable burning conditions." 

Prescribed fires are ignited after close evaluation of weather and fuel conditions, social, political and economic considerations, and other factors that influence fire behavior and the ecological effects of fire. Prescribed burning is planned for the following Eldorado National Forest locations throughout the winter and spring:

  • Placerville Ranger District: understory burning in the Silver Saddle, Marshall Mine, and Iron Trap prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the Roadrunner (Highway 50 Fuel Break), Grizzly Trails and Trestle projects. For more information, contact 530-644-2324.
  • Amador Ranger District: understory burning in the Power Fire, View 88, Scottiago, Oski Bear, Mokey Bear, Lost Horse, and Tiger Creek prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the View 88, Power Fire Reforestation, Foster Meadow, Callecat, Copy Cat, Prospect Rock, Bear, Silver Lake WUI, Scottiago and CHIPS projects. For more information, contact 209-295-4251.
  • Georgetown Ranger District: understory burning in the Big Grizzly, Georgetown Maintenance, Tobacco Gulch, and Georgetown Compound prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the King Fire Restoration Project (2Chaix, Caesar, En Garde, Younger and Pompeii). For more information, contact 530-333-4312.
  • Pacific Ranger District: understory burning in the Wharf Whale and Pacific & Crystal Compound prescribed fire projects; and pile burning in the King Fire Restoration (Quidazoic), Trimburgh, Administrative/Recreation sites, John Don’t, and Cleveland Icehouse projects. For more information, contact 530-644-2349.

A map of the burn project locations is available on the forest website.

"We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies," said Fire Management Officer Jay Kurth. "Efforts are made to ignite prescribed fires when weather patterns will disperse smoke more quickly, so it has less effect on populated areas."

Project managers coordinate with state and local county air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions to ensure that burning takes place on the best days for smoke dispersion. Smoke from prescribed fire operations is shorter term and less intense than during a large wildfire. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to see how effectively fuels are consumed and where smoke is expected to travel.

The Forest Service recommends that people with respiratory illness or adversely affected by smoke and living in or near the Eldorado National Forest should contact the nearest ranger station. These people will be placed on a "Sensitive Persons List" and will be notified of upcoming prescribed burning projects.

Prescribed fire updates will be posted on the forest Twitter account which can be viewed at www.twitter.com/EldoradoNF.  Individuals who sign up to follow the forest Twitter account receive a message when new information is posted. 

Project descriptions and maps of the burn units will also be posted on the Eldorado National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/eldorado. Look for the "Prescribed Burn Program" link on the right side of the page. Those who do not have personal social media accounts can also find the forest's Twitter and Facebook posts on the forest website. For more information, contact Teresa Riesenhuber at (530) 621-5223 or email at teresa.riesenhuber@usda.gov.