by Ludie Bond, Wildfire Prevention Team PIO
The Sequoia National Forest continues to make great progress toward achieving the Giant Sequoia Emergency Response goals. To date, 1,213 Giant Sequoias have been protected in six groves covering 404 acres, and that number is growing daily.
“It’s exciting that we have completed so much work so quickly and have already made a real difference on the ground,” stated Gretchen Fitzgerald, Ecosystems Staff Officer. “We have already removed fuels from more than 1000 giant sequoias. I am very grateful for all the hard work and community involvement to keep the project moving forward.”
An Emergency Response was approved by U. S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore on July 22, 2022, to expedite the implementation of approximately 13,377 acres of fuels reduction treatments in 12 Giant Sequoia groves. The objective of this emergency response is to reduce the wildfire risk that currently threatens the Giant Sequoia groves. Forest resource staff and incident resource advisors are monitoring the effects of the associated emergency actions.
Fuels reduction treatments continue to be completed with hand treatments to remove ladder fuels and duff from around monarch Giant Sequoias. Implementation is underway in six of the 12 groves: Bearskin, Black Mountain, Indian Basin, Landslide, Wishon, and the Sierra National Forest, Nelder grove.
Additional local and national resources have been used for the emergency response. A Type 3 Incident Management Organization continues to manage the workforce and implement fuels treatments. Those resources include twenty-person crews, wildland fire use modules, teams of fallers, division supervisors, task force/crew bosses, emergency medical technicians, branch directors, incident commanders, resource advisors, tribal monitors, and technical specialists, among others.
“The crews are doing a great job moving forward with progress on the project,” said Ryan Lobre, Incident Commander Trainee. “We continue to bring in additional resources such as personnel and supplies to replace those currently on the ground as they time out. We are very happy with the current safety record on the incident thus far.”
Crews will continue the fuels reduction treatments in the designated groves in the Hume Lake and Western Divide Ranger Districts. Public notification, involvement, and tribal engagement will be initiated for the planned prescribed burns and fuels reduction projects within the next several weeks. Inter-Disciplinary Teams continue completing environmental analysis and documentation for these activities. Burn plans are being written for pile burns across all groves and broadcast burns for the Alder Fire Prescribed Burn in Wishon, Silver Creek, and Burro Creek areas.