U.S. Forest Service
Pacific Southwest Region
Stanislaus National Forest
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
Contact: Clare Long
209-532-3671, ext 438
Date: August 22, 2016
SONORA, California, August 22, 2016 – Firefighters from the Stanislaus National Forest are managing the Mokelumne Fire for multiple objectives including allowing fire to function in its natural role while also suppressing the fire where safe to do so.
The Mokelumne Fire was caused by a lighting strike and started on August 19, 2016, in a remote area of the Mokelumne Wilderness on the Stanislaus National Forest. This slow-moving 147-acre fire is burning brush and trees in steep, rugged country with granite cliffs and outcroppings. This makes firefighting on the ground difficult and a concern for the safety of the firefighters. There are 34 personnel including one 10-person crew and a helicopter with the capacity to drop water currently assigned to this incident. Firefighters are using control strategies to manage the impacts and promote the ecological benefits.
Wildland Fire Managers have the option to manage naturally-ignited fires to achieve resource benefits where fire is a major component of the ecosystem and where specific pre-stated objectives can be accomplished. This fire will reduce accumulated forest litter and fuels, maintain fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, increase firefighter and public safety, and protect cultural resources and wildlife habitat. The goal of managing this fire is to allow fire to resume its natural role in the ecosystem.
Acting Forest Fire Management Officer, Rob Laeng says “Lightning fires are a natural occurrence and play a vital role in shaping this fire-dependent ecosystem. By managing this fire for resource benefit we can ensure a healthier, more diverse and natural forest where future fires will burn with less intensity.”
Over the next few weeks there will be smoke and reduced visibility in this area and the public is advised to avoid the area of the Mokelumne Wilderness north of Frog Lake near the Mokelumne River. Forest managers are working with state air quality monitoring services to monitor air quality impacts in the area.
For more information about the Mokelumne Fire contact: Fire Information line at 209-272-5455 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/stanislaus/, or facebook at www.facebook.com/StanislausNF/
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.