Crews complete critical burn operation inside Kings Canyon National Park

The massive 2015 Rough Fire raged for months.

But officials with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks say that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets, such as campgrounds and visitor centers, were saved thanks to previous prescribed burns.

"Fires in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are part of the ecosystem, and so having an active prescribed burn program helps us treat the landscape and prepare it and make it more resilient in the face of future wildfires," said Sequoia and Kings Canyon Fire Information Officer Mike Theune.

On Thursday evening, fire crews finished a 200-plus acre planned burn in Cedar Grove, inside Kings Canyon.

Theune was there and says the prescribed burn reduces the threat of wildfire by eliminating hazardous fuels that have accumulated over nearly a decade.

He adds that the operation makes the area more sustainable to drought and climate change.

Fire crews within the park are also ready to respond to any naturally-occurring wildfires, and Theune encourages visitors to have a plan in case one breaks out.

But he says people should know that some fires may last longer than others, depending where they're located in the parks.

"Some of those wildfires are fully suppressed right away and other fires are allowed to do their natural work in the ecosystem for the long-term sustainability of our natural parks," Theune said.

In the coming days, visitors may still see lingering smoke and flames from the prescribed burn.

There are others planned for later this year.

Because there's still snow above 8,000 feet, park officials say it's not likely there will be wildfires in higher elevations until everything dries out later in the season.

Fires in the foothills, though, are more of a concern right now.

EMBED More News Videos

Officials with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks say hundreds of millions of dollars worth of assets, such as campgrounds and visitor centers, were saved thanks to previous p

Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.