Forest Service to Begin Prescribed Burning Projects

Contact(s): Cindy Thill

KERNVILLE, Calif., Nov. 15, 2018 - Hazardous Fuels Reduction projects are scheduled this winter on three mountaintops within the Kern River Ranger District on the Sequoia National Forest.  All projects are subject to weather conditions while working closely with the Eastern Kern and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control Districts to manage smoke production and reduce any impacts.  The fuels reduction projects may commence from late November 2018 through May 2019.


The Greenhorn Mountain project is adjacent to the community of Alta Sierra and south of Shirley Meadow.  This project will consist of broadcast understory and pile burning encompassing approximately 400 acres.  The Breckenridge project will consist of pile burning and is located in the vicinity of the Breckenridge subdivision and Golf Meadow area. The Kern Plateau pile burning will be located on the Blackrock Work Center compound off the Sherman Pass Road. These areas represent a mixed conifer forest.

The objectives of the fuel reduction projects are to make conifer forest and other associated wildlife habitat more resilient to wildfire through the reintroduction or managed fire into the ecosystem.  Also, the forest surrounding the communities of Alta Sierra and Breckenridge are overly dense, have high amounts of hazardous fuels and represent a high risk of hazard to the community. Fuel reduction activities on the projects will have beneficial impacts on health and safety in the project areas by reducing the risk of a stand-replacing fire and restoring natural ecosystems while improving public safety.


Forest Service crews have been working in the areas preparing fire lines and cutting ladder fuels to prepare for burning this fall.  Prep work is necessary to ensure the project work is accomplished safely and to provide control measures.  Included in the plan are both pile and understory burning (understory burns are controlled fires that consume surface fuels but not the over story canopy).


The Kern River Ranger District expects to burn 850 acres this year in small units designed to minimize effects of smoke on the community while reducing the potential for large, stand-replacing wildfires. 


Impacts to the local communities and forest visitors include visible smoke from most communities surrounding Isabella Lake, as well as the California Hot Springs and Glennville areas. The Kern Plateau burning will be visible to those traveling across Sherman Pass Vista and into Kennedy Meadows. There may be temporary “as needed for public safety” closures on the Unal Trail located on Greenhorn Summit and various forest roads.


Prescribed burn efforts will continue throughout the winter as weather and available resources permit. Check when burning commences for current information.


For further information please contact Bryan Hellett, District Fire Management Officer at (760) 376-3781, extension 620, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.