Sequoia National Park Receives ‘Critical Repairs to its Infrastructure’

by Amy Myers

Sequoia National Park is currently seeing some pretty substantial repairs that will continue through June 16. Southern California Edison (SCE) will be completing the repairs every day. These will take place anywhere between the entrance to Sequoia National Park and the Giant Forest.  

SCE will be conducting the repairs via helicopter because the location of the area in question is incredibly remote. The repairs follow last year’s fire that burned over 80,000 acres within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The repairs will occur primarily out of “a parking lot across the Generals Highway from Potwisha Campground.”

“Between June 1 and June 12, helicopter flights, and associated short road closures along the Generals Highway, will occur primarily in the early mornings and late evenings, and parking in the Potwisha Overflow Parking Lot will be limited,” the park stated in an official release.

For visitors, this means they may “experience short-term road closures and see and hear helicopters throughout project implementation.”

Sequoia National Park Also Implementing Stage 2 Fire Restrictions and Prescribed Burnings

Late last month, Sequoia National Park had to put Stage 2 fire restrictions in place in the lower-elevation regions. According to the park, the fire restrictions will help reduce the need for additional fire and medical resources.

“After last year’s KNP Complex Fire and the extraordinary drought conditions in the state, we need to take the proper measures to protect the public and our wildland firefighters,” said John Ziegler, parks’ fire management officer. “The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of unwanted human-caused wildfire in the parks’ high-risk areas at this time of the year.” 

Just five days later, Sequoia National Park followed up these restrictions by scheduling a few prescribed burnings. This is a tactic many western areas use to reduce the impact that a potential wildfire may have. By creating these intentional burnings, the organizations can better control the path and longevity of the flames. Not to mention, they reduce the chances that a manmade fire will occur later on.

Here are the areas that will receive burnings:

“The first, Ash Mountain Prescribed Burn consists of five segments, for approximately 15 acres between the Sequoia National Park entrance station and the Foothills Visitor Center, one mile inside the park, with an earliest start date of Sunday, June 5. The second, Tharps-Hazelwood Prescribed Burn, will treat 752 acres in the heart of the Giant Forest, roughly one-half mile northeast of the Giant Forest Museum.”

The foothills area, where the Ash Mountain Prescribed Burn takes place, sees fires on an almost annual basis. Research shows that prescribed burns produce less smoke than wildfires, therefore maintaining air quality.