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San Bernardino National Forest to start Winter Prescribed Fire Program

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December 20, 2012 03:07AM
San Bernardino National Forest to start Winter Prescribed Fire Program
Release Date: Dec 19, 2012

San Bernardino, Calif., December 19, 2012 – The Forest Service will begin its winter prescribed burn program in the San Bernardino National Forest with the recent shift in the weather.

Winter burning projects are part of a continuing effort to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health. The prescribed fire program will continue through the winter months as weather and conditions permit.

“Prescribed fires are ignited only when both weather and fuel conditions exist that will ensure low to moderate burning rates and firefighting resources are available to keep fires within fire lines,” said Forest Service Fire Chief Shawna Legarza.

Prescribed fires and pile burning are intended to reduce the amount of vegetation, such as needles, small plants, brush, and small trees, which can carry fire from the forest floor into the treetops. Studies and experience have shown that prescribed fires will stimulate the growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that provide food for deer, mountain quail and other wildlife. “We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies,” said Legarza. “Every effort is made to ignite prescribed fires when weather patterns will carry smoke away from populated areas.”

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, appropriate conditions, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) before and during prescribed burns in order to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

Fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the “prescription” or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation, and relative humidity that need to be present before the project begins. When the criteria are met, crews implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets the goals and objectives outlined by managers.

Firefighters will be burning slash and debris piles adjacent to Forest Service Fire Stations. Signs will be posted along the roadways to alert passerby’s to the burning activity. The Forest Service will send out occasional reminders to the public, alerting to potential smoke in the air.

In addition to the station pile burning, the public may also see smoke from pile burning activities in the following forest locations over the winter months:

San Bernardino Mountains:
  • Prescribed fire State Highway 38 as part of the Angelus Oaks Community Defense Project.
  • Slash and debris piles near Pisgah Peak, south of Oak Glen.
  • Slash and debris piles near the Oak Glen California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Conservation Camp.
  • Slash and debris piles along Forest Road 2N10, south of Big Bear Lake.
  • Slash and debris piles along Forest Road 2N19, south of Green Valley Lake.
  • Slash and debris piles along Highway 173 near Grass Valley Rd, north of Lake Arrowhead.
  • Slash and pile burning near various fire stations.
San Jacinto Mountains:
  • Prescribed fire near Lake Hemet, north of Highway 74 as part of the on-going Bonita Vista fuels reduction project.
  • Slash and pile burning near Saunders Meadow Road and 243, Lawler Lodge and 243, and near the community of Bonita Vista.
  • Slash and pile burning near various fire stations.
We appreciate the public’s tolerance of some smoke impacts in order to achieve the San Bernardino National Forest’s fire prevention and resource management goals, and the public can call our local offices to find out where we are burning at the following numbers:
  • Big Bear Ranger Station & Discovery Center 909-382-2790
  • Lytle Creek Ranger Station 909-382-2851
  • Idyllwild Ranger Station 909-382-2922
  • Mill Creek Work Center 909-382-2882
  • Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument 760-862-9984
About the U.S. Forest Service, San Bernardino National Forest

The San Bernardino National Forest is comprised of three Ranger Districts spanning 676,666 acres in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. From the desert floor to the pristine mountain peaks, the San Bernardino National Forest offers natural environments, spectacular scenery, developed campgrounds and picnic areas, numerous recreational opportunities, and the solitude of quiet wilderness and open space for the over 24 million residents of Southern California and those visiting the area. The forest environment also provides habitat for numerous plants and animals and is crucial in sustaining drinking water, air, and soil quality. Learn more at http://www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf

San Bernardino National Forest to start Winter Prescribed Fire Program

Rick1852December 20, 2012 03:07AM

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