NORTH FORK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fire crews in the North Valley will begin taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and increased atmospheric moisture to proactively get a start on preventing next fire season’s fires now.

The Bass Lake Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest says starting in early December residents will begin seeing prescribed burns in both Madera and Mariposa counties.  The burns are expected to last until at least March, and could potentially last into May if conditions remain ideal for prescribed fire activity.

Fire management crews hope to reduce the severity of future wildfires by eliminating accumulated fuels due to tree mortality, timber harvesting, overgrowth of vegetation, and remainders of previous fires.

Fire crews plan to address piles in Bass Lake created from the Madera County roads project as well go back into sites of this past summer’s Washburn, Oak, Creek, and Railroad fires. By addressing these locations they expect to be able to slow the progression of future wildfires into surrounding communities such as Jerseydale, Ponderosa Basin, Sugar Pine, Fish Camp, Cedar Valley, Bass Lake, North Fork, and Oakhurst.

Once underway prescribed fire activity is expected to be visible from portions of Highways 140, 49 & 41, as well as other major roadways throughout the district.  Smoke may also be seen from various vantage points in the foothill and mountain communities in Mariposa County, Bass Lake, and North Fork in Madera County region.

For more information on these prescribed burns you may contact the Bass Lake Ranger District Office at 559-877-2218.