Fighting Fire with Fire

April 15, 2008 9:17:05 PM PDT
Fires are a natural part of the life cycle in forests and in the last several days firefighters have tried to mimic that cycle by starting a fire in Yosemite National Park. In this case, it's all in the name of protecting Wawona, a quaint community of 400 homes inside Yosemite.Adrienne Freeman, a spokesperson for the park said, "What we need to do is make sure we have space around those areas to prevent fires like the ones in San Bernadino, San Diego, and Lake Tahoe last year."

From the air you can see another vantage point of the fires slowly eating away what took hundreds of years to grow. The Park Service started doing these controlled burns in the 1970's. They're effective and efficient, saving millions of dollars it often takes to put out wildfires and saving lives. But even when every precaution is taken, lightning strikes can create natural disasters.

"We have seen some large fires in 1990 and 1994 and they caused a significant amount of damage," said Freeman. The goal of this controlled fire is to burn 1200 acres, essentially get rid of this dead and dry brush that could spark massive wildfires.

Mike Beasley, the fire manager at Yosemite said, "Our biggest concern is the air in the San Joaquin Valley. We work closely with our local air regulators in Mariposa County and those in the San Joaquin Valley to pick the best time possible to do these burns so we get smoke up and out."