Ash and Goliath creating Haze

Lightning caused fire and controlled burn creating haze in the Owen Valley

by Arnie Palu
June 16, 2016

A lightning caused fire and a controlled burn are creating a slight haze for the Owens Valley.  The Forest Service indicates that the Ash fire ignited on June 12th.  The fire is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness southeast of Mulkey Meadows at nearly 8,500 feet of elevation.   Smoke is visible along the Highway 395 corridor north of Olancha.  Officials indicate the Ash fire is currently no threat to life or property as it burns in a mix of mahogany, pinyon pine, and jeffery pine.  According to Forest Service spokesperson Deb Schweizer, fire crews are monitoring the fire and using bucket drops from helicopter to help direct and slow the fire spread.

Also contributing to the haze in the Owens Valley is the Goliath prescribed burn.  Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks issued the following statement:

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. June 11, 2016 – After a successful test fire and determination by the parks’ burn boss and fire management staff, the Goliath Prescribed Burn has started in Redwood Canyon located in Kings Canyon National Park. The prescribed burn is scheduled to last for approximately four to five days.

At 759 acres, the purpose of the prescribed burn is to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. Redwood Canyon is home to the largest giant sequoia grove in the world. A prescribed burn is one of the only natural means to prepare a mineral soil seed bed, which giant sequoias require to regenerate; the other being a lightning-caused fire when conditions may not be as ideal.

Smoke impacts can be expected in Redwood Canyon and the Kings Canyon Overlook area during the day and towards the North Fork of the Kaweah River at night. The Generals Highway and Redwood Saddle Road should not experience any delays. Depending on weather, the Montecito-Sequoia Lodge may experience smoke impacts at night.

The parks fire management program would like to remind the public that all trails surrounding the burn unit will have restricted access during ignition and through the burn down period. While this prescribed burn is surrounded in its entirety by the Redwood Canyon and Hart Tree Trails, if safe to do so, firefighters may be able to escort visitors along a short section of the Redwood Canyon Trail between the Sugar Bowl and Hart Tree Trails.

GoliathSmoke
provided by the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District