REDDING, CA, October 18, 2021— The Shasta-Trinity National Forest plans to initiate prescribed fire operations this fall and winter as weather patterns shift to cooler temperatures and wetter conditions. The forest recognizes the significant impacts that have occurred as part of the 2021 summer fire season and the extreme conditions that existed throughout much of the summer. Current fuels and fire behavior metrics have moderated significantly and will continue to moderate as days become shorter, evenings cooler and wetter weather approaches. The decision to implement a specific prescribed fire project accounts for the current weather and fuels conditions, the predicted weather conditions, and resource availability. Fire management staff across the forest monitor these conditions and look for appropriate implementation windows that align with the prescription and parameters set in the agency approved prescribed fire plan. The forest will not conduct any prescribed fire operations until conditions match those required in the appropriate prescribed fire plan or plans.
Over the next several months the public may see or smell smoke in various parts of the forest from prescribed fire activities. These projects may have some short-term impacts on air quality levels; however, the Forest Service will comply with all Local, State and Federal air quality regulations and coordination with local air quality regulators will take place.
“Prescribed fire is an important tool used to meet fire management and ecological objectives. Prescribed fires reduce fuel loadings and the intensity of future fires while also enhancing and restoring habitats for fire adapted plants and animals. Most of the ecosystems in Northern California evolved with fire and, historically, fire played a critical role in the functioning of these systems.” said Forest Assistant Fire Management Officer, Kevin Osborne. “The forest’s fire management employees take prescribed fire very seriously. Conditions must meet certain criteria, including weather and vegetation factors, before we will implement a prescribed fire.”
Prescribed fire is a tool that is used to mimic the natural role of fire in the environment, create resilient forests, and to decrease future risk to life, property, and natural resources. Managing fire on the landscape promotes naturally occurring processes that native plants and animals rely upon. It affords opportunity for new growth to take place by removing dead and dying vegetation. At the same time, it decreases the threat posed by future wildfires and improves the resiliency of forest landscapes.
Weather is an essential factor in the planning and implementation of a prescribed fire. Wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity, and measurable moisture in vegetation are all taken into consideration, especially during a drought, prior to initiating any burning activities. The current drought conditions Northern California is experiencing may impact the timing and ability to accomplish prescribed fire this fall.
Areas where prescribed fire is planned include:
National Recreation Area (NRA – Shasta Lake area):
O’Brien Mtn. near Packers Bay; northeast of Jones Valley between Squaw and Pit arm of Shasta Lake; near bully hill between McCloud arm and Squaw arm of Shasta Lake; west of Lakeshore between Charlie Creek and Little Dog Creek; north of Lakeshore along Forest Road; in Lakeshore area proper off of Lakeshore drive and near Antlers marina; and west of Jones Valley in the Silverthorn area.
South Fork Management Unit (SFMU – Wildwood, Platina, and Hayfork area):
Plummer Peak Lookout, 1 mile South of Hayfork; North of Hyampom along 5N60 road and 4N24 road; 5 miles north of Yolla Bolla Wilderness on Raspberry, Trough, and Rainbow ridges; Harrison Gulch District Office on highway 36; 1 mile west of Wildwood and 1-3 miles north of Highway 36; 1-3 miles east of Wildwood and 1-2 miles north of Highway 36; Scattered piles along Hyampom Road between mile markers 3 – 15.
Shasta McCloud Management Unit (SMMU – Mt. Shasta and McCloud areas):
McCloud Area: Elk Underburn, 2 miles north of the Pilgrim Creek Snowmobile Park near Elk flat in the McCloud Flats; landing and machine piles in the McCloud Flats northeast of the community of McCloud.
Mt Shasta Area: Landing piles east of Mt Shasta City near Hwy 89; handpiles northeast of Mt Shasta City within the Gateway Phase II Trails project.
Trinity River Management Unit (TRMU – Big Bar and Weaverville area):
Trinity Lake area: County Road 106 piles near East Fork; Long Canyon roadside hand piles west of Long Canyon Estates; Papoose roadside hand piles east of Trinity Dam; Lake Forest Plantations broadcast burning near Long Canyon; and River Complex Suppression repair piles.
Weaverville area: Broadcast burning on up to 350 acres within the Weaverville Community Forest; hand pile burning along Highway 299 west of Weaverville.
Trinity River area: Junction City to Burnt Ranch: Trinity Post Fire Hazard Reduction hand piles near Hyampom Mountain, Underwood Mountain, Pattison Peak, and along Denny Road; and Monument Fire Suppression repair piles.
Burning may also occur intermittently at Forest Service Fire Stations, Ranger Stations and Campgrounds.
Specific project location information is available online at the Shasta-Trinity National Forest Website (select Land & Resource Management Planning > Fire Management > Prescribed Fire) and on Inciweb, pre-ignition public notifications will be provided to local media outlets and will also be posted on the Forest’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and prescribed fire announcements will be placed at local Forest Service District Offices.
For updated information regarding specific prescribed fire projects or areas, please call local District Offices:
• Shasta Lake National Recreation Area: (530) 275-1587
• South Fork Management Unit: (530) 352-4211
• Shasta-McCloud Management Unit: (530) 926-4511
• Trinity-River Management Unit: (530) 623-2121