July 24, 2013

Hazard Fuel Assessment and draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan, NPS and Community of Yosemite West

yosemiteYosemite West, California.

Yosemite West is a community of over 250 residences that share a boundary of Yosemite National Park.  The community is entirely surrounded by forest and is located at the top of a ridge with several miles of a heavily timbered drainage lying directly beneath.  This unique situation places the entire community at risk from a large fast moving crown fire.  Fuel loading and structure measurements were used with fire behavior prediction models to determine fuel treatments that would return a crown fire to the ground.  Further treatments were identified that would allow fire fighters to safely defend the community against an approaching ground fire.

Previously, the response to a crown fire was to evacuate everybody from the area.  After completion of the hazard fuel assessment Wildland Fire Associates worked with the community to develop mitigation measures that were both aesthetically acceptable to the residents and would allow for safe and effective management of approaching wildland fires.  The final assessment and mitigation plan included prescribed treatments, equipment needs, cost estimates and other information needed for the community to submit a competitive grant proposal.