Yosemite celebrates 50 years of its prescribed burns, new federal investment coming

Local News

FRESNO COUNTY, California (KSEE) – It has been a record wildfire season in Calfirona with more than four million acres burned.

On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Kate MacGregor visited Yosemite National Park as it commemorates the 50th anniversary of its prescribed burn program.

“We’re here to see to President Trump’s big priorities, one is the Great American Outdoors Act,” said MacGregor. “And we’re going to be investing billions of dollars into our National Parks and public lands to rebuild and take care of our deferred maintenance.”

MacGregor toured the area, watching crews hard at work cutting down trees and making burn piles.

“I think it’s great to see some of these trees that are completely dead and pose a risk not only to our firefighters but just a risk to have around.”

MacGregor’s visit comes on the heels of President Trump blaming California for bad forest management.

When asked about President Trump’s comment and if MacGregor agrees with it, she said:

“I testified before the committee when I was getting confirmed that the climate is absolutely changing, but at the end of the day, regardless of the cause of the fire, whether it’s human cause, whether it’s lightning in a wilderness area, we still have to be mindful of the communities impacted by this wildfire and that’s why we’re here to talk about veg management.”

When asked if the federal government would be securing funds to clean up forests, MacGregor says every year they dedicate significant funding.

But Fire Management Officer for Yosemite Dan Buckley says they are always asking for additional help.

“There’s a lot of priorities in the federal budget I get that, and we’ll do the best we can with what we get, that’s what I tell my folks.”

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