Sierras slowly recovering from Rough Fire

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The Rough Fire burned for nearly five months, and, when it was officially out, it burned over 151,000 acres that were home to countless Sequoia trees. (KFSN)

The Rough Fire burned for nearly five months, and, when it was officially out, it burned over 151,000 acres that were home to countless Sequoia trees.

A lightning strike hit the steep terrain of the Kings River Canyon off of Highway 180 on July 31 of last year, sparking a fire larger than Fresno.

The area proved to be extremely difficult for firefighters to reach.

"The next day when it was detected the Sierra National Forest dropped in their helicopter crew members in there to get boots on the ground," Shelby Charley National Forest Service said. "And when they got on there, and the way it was burning, it was unsafe for those guys to anchor."

That means the fire was moving quickly and firefighters had to move faster.

The wildfire moved from the Sierra National Forest, jumped the Kings River into parts of Kings Canyon National Park and the Sequoia National Forest.

Working against a wildfire that was fueled by dry vegetation from years of drought, firefighters knew they needed a strong game plan.

"Our prescribed burning program that we do in these places are really effective," said Mike Theune with the National Park Service. "Not only that, it lessens the amount of vegetation that's there so when a fire come through but they also produce less smoke as they come through as well."

The prescribed burns also created hot spots allowing pine cones fall and to generate seeds for new Sequoia trees.

The seeds are smaller than a dime and nearly nine months after the fire new trees are just starting to grow.

"There's a lot of Sequoia groves that burned in the Rough Fire that have never seen fire," Tony Caprio with the National Park Service said. "Those trees have been accumulating cones so this was there time for releasing all that seed."



Forest officials say the process is important and that it only needs to happen once in a thousand years, but it will take a thousand years for those new trees to stand tall like the ones that were lost in the fire.
Related Topics:
newswildfirefirenational park servicecal firefresno countyFresno County
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