Berkeley Forests to Undertake Fire Suppression Efforts at Whitaker's Forest

September 23, 2021

Berkeley Forests’ has approved a plan in conjunction with the National Park Service (NPS) and the KNP Complex Fire Incident Management Team and Operations Crew to implement a controlled burn across approximately 1/3 of our Whitaker’s Forest Property in the coming days.  This controlled burn, or back burn, is designed to reduce fuels in the path of the wild fire, favorably altering fire behavior in the burned area and creating a belt that the wildfire has difficulty crossing.

The planned burn will reburn an area in which a prescribed fire was implemented in 2012 in cooperation with the neighboring National Park.  It will consume surface fuels in an area that would be challenging to treat mechanically, due to rough terrain.  The burn location also provides a strategic suppression point, as it will create some protection from the wildfire for the private parcels below Whitaker’s Forest.  Berkeley Forests has long-term monitoring plots in the area that will be burned and will collect as much pre-burn data in these areas as possible.  Researchers will look at the interaction of the fire with existing cohorts of young giant sequoia, to better understand how giant sequoia can regenerate in a frequent fire regime.

Berkeley Forests’ Research Forest Manager, Ariel Roughton (RPF), and Research Forest Advisor, Dr. Robert York (RPF), are the primary points of contact for Incident Management and Operations teams and have been working closely with our excellent partners at the NPS.


Additional Resources:

A summary of the natural adaptations and vulnerabilities of giant sequoia to fire, as well as Berkeley Forests current management strategy to protect trees from mortality caused by fire damage is available on the Berkeley Forests’ News page.

For answers to frequently asked questions about giant sequoia mortality in the 2020 Castle Fire, the role of fire in giant sequoia ecology, and threats and strategies for protection, please visit the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition page.

An in-depth condition assessment of the Giant Sequoias at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is available for download here.

Updates about the KNP Complex Fires can be found on the InciWeb site.

If you would like to speak with Berkeley Forests staff or faculty, please email