Poor Burning Conditions Prompt Postponement of Prescribed Burn At Yosemite National Park

Poor conditions for a prescribed burn -- unsettled weather patterns, extensive fuels, and steep terrain -- have prompted officials to delay a burn planned for the Wawona area of Yosemite National Park.

The 846-acre Wawona Northwest Prescribed Fire that was to be ignited Wednesday was cancelled by fire bosses due to concerns for safety to firefighters and the community, and an unsettled weather pattern. A high pressure ridge over the Sierra Nevada is projected for the weekend and may not have allowed enough time to complete the project, they said in a press release.

"This project is one of the most difficult prescribed fires units within the park due to very steep terrain, with a 2,300’ elevation gain," the release said. "The decision to cancel the project weighed on adequate planning, evaluation of risk, fire ground situational awareness and availability of adequate resources."

Specific to the Wawona project, early drying of vegetation, inadequate resources and concerns by fire managers to hold the fire along fire lines led to the uncertainty of successfully mitigating an escape.

The extremely dry winter and early drying of vegetation, points out the importance of property owners to maintain defensible space and clearance of dead and down vegetation within 100 feet of their properties.

The Wawona NW project will be considered for a later date this fall or next spring.