For Immediate Release: 10/18/2023
California State Parks and CAL FIRE Plan Prescribed Burn at Calaveras Big Trees State Park
Public Information Officer
ARNOLD, Calif.— California State Parks plans to conduct a prescribed burn in Calaveras Big Trees State Park with assistance from CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, and National Park Service. The treatment will cover approximately 1,300-acres in the South Grove area. Work may begin as soon as October 30. All burning depends on weather and air quality conditions; if weather or vegetation conditions are not conducive for burning and smoke dispersal, the department will reschedule the treatment.
During the prescribed burning, visitors should expect park closures including the South Grove Trail, Beaver Creek area, Bradley Grove Trail, fire road around the South Grove, and the Walter W. Smith Memorial Parkway south of the Stanislaus River. Closures will remain in effect until conditions favor reopening. Smoke will remain in the area for some time after active firing has stopped. For a current list of all park closures, the public can visit: parks.ca.gov/CalaverasBigTrees.
California State Parks, CAL FIRE, and contractors have spent several years preparing the South Grove Preserve for treatment. Crews have removed large fuels and masticated material along the fire road surrounding the South Grove to create a control line around the 1,300-acre unit. Additionally, crews have prepared large giant sequoias by removing heavy fuels and organic matter from their base to reduce the likelihood of negative impacts from fire.
The protection and stewardship of giant sequoia groves at Calaveras Big Tress State Park has been a priority for California State Parks since the park opened to the public in 1931. Prescribed burning is part of the department’s program for vegetation management to increase the resilience of the forest and promote new giant sequoia growth. Forest management and prescribed fire help restore and maintain a complex forest community, reduce hazardous fuel loads, improve wildlife habitat, restore nutrients to the soil, protect park infrastructure and reduce the chance of catastrophic wildfire.
The planned prescribed burn at Calaveras Big Trees State Park is funded by the State of California through the Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Program (WFRP). WFRP expands on critical land management that California State Parks has been carrying out for decades and supports increasing the pace and scale of fuels treatments so that California’s State Park System can become an example of resilient ecosystems maintained through active stewardship.
Communities near Calaveras Big Trees State Park, including Arnold, Dorrington, Big Trees Village, White Pines, Blue Lake Springs, and Love Creek may experience smoke from the burning operations. Prescribed burns produce significantly less smoke than wildfires. The department plans and coordinates these burns with the Tuolumne County Air District to minimize the smoke in surrounding communities.
For more information about prescribed burns at Calaveras Big Trees State Park, please visit parks.ca.gov/BigTreesPrescribedFire.
Photo above: On a warm June day, California State Parks and CAL FIRE crews came together to show how a controlled burn can improve wildfire resiliency at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Months of planning and shared commitments to this cherished Golden State landscape were on full display. Click here to view a video, where forestry and park experts explain why reintroducing fire to the giant sequoia landscape is important to the future of Calaveras Big Trees State Park.
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