FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Forest maintenance is underway in the Sierra after last year's Creek Fire tore through parts of Fresno and Madera Counties, becoming the largest single wildfire in the state's history.
Dead trees and dry conditions were blamed for the fast-moving fire that forced thousands of residents to evacuate.
Crews with the U.S. Forest Service and CAL FIRE conducted prescribed fire operations in an area above Auberry on Wednesday.
"It's an opportunity to put a control line and hold that fire from the community of Big Sandy Rancheria, the Mono Wind Casino and the Jose Basin road," said Fuels Specialist Clint Wade.
Crews are using chainsaws and other equipment to thin out trees and brush before it's all piled and burned.
The 200 acres that encompass Acorn and Sugarloaf roads connect to a larger fuel break system in the region.
The prescribed fire is part of a fuel break initiative started in 2016 and is designed to improve landscape health and remove dead trees as well as overgrown vegetation that could fuel a wildfire
"Fuel breaks like this are important to control wildfire and contain wildfire and keep fire from the private lands moving into the forest or fire in the forest coming into private land," said Wade.
Officials say the burning piles are all contained with either hand fire lines or by mini dozers, leaving minimal threat to nearby communities.
"Some of the areas, it makes sense to allow the pile to creep a little bit, it'll creep up to a larger control line but the intent is to burn the pile of vegetation."
Sierra Forest officials conduct prescribed fire operations 6 months after Creek Fire
Dead trees and dry conditions were blamed for the fast-moving Creek Fire that forced thousands of residents to evacuate.