Yosemite Park Officials say allowing some wildfires to burn saves money while improving the forest

Fresno, Calif. (KFSN) -- Smoke and charred trees can be a scary sight in Yosemite, but park officials say fires help rejuvenate the forest and letting them burn helps save taxpayers some money.

The sight of flames may seem like a reason to worry, but park officials say smoke and flames is the sign of a new life coming their way.

"You're restoring forest health and making it more resilient to the next fire," said Kristen Chive, fire ecologist.

Through an unlikely combination of fire and snow on Thursday, Yosemite fire experts explained wildfires actually rejuvenate the soil to bring more plants and trees. It also makes the forest more sustainable.

"It's also becoming more resilient to drought because there's less competition for water when the forest is more open," said Chive.

Fire Chiefs say they have been using wildfire to restore the forest for decades but the process starts with deciding which fires they are going to let burn. Some of their biggest deciding factors are nearby communities and how they can save structures while saving money-- as well which areas have a fire history and the elevation to let it burn.

"We're saving taxpayer money by not putting firefighters and firefighting equipment deep in the wilderness, where there's nothing to save in terms of life and property," said Kelly Martin, Fire Chief.

Crews are still cleaning and constantly monitoring fires allowed to burn. Firefighters are keeping an eye on the few flames left behind while experts look forward to seeing a healthier forest in the coming years.

A lot of charred land and trees left behind, but forest officials say they expect to see some new life in this area by next spring.
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