Forest Service fire crews are planning to burn approximately 400 to 600 acres near Lake Hemet during the week of April 15. The Bonita Vista Burn is dependent upon weather and conditions and would occur throughout the week.
Smoke and flames will be visible to residents and motorists along State Route 74 in Garner Valley as well as surrounding communities.
“Doing this work under these calm weather conditions helps reduce the risk of a catastrophic wildfire posing a threat to mountain communities under harsher conditions,” stated San Jacinto Ranger District Division Chief Dan Felix in a Forest Service press release.
The project area is located in the triangle of Highway 74, May Valley Road and Johnson Meadow near Keen Camp Summit and is another phase of the ongoing Bonita Vista project.
The proposed burn area will be closed to recreational use during burning operations; this includes the Keen Camp Climb trail.
Firefighters will be using multiple techniques including aerial ignition, which utilizes a helicopter and a “heli-torch”, as well as other tools such as the drip torch, burning chaparral with a large component of chemise. Crews continually monitor conditions and adjust burning as long as weather conditions are favorable.
This project, when complete, will reduce fuel to the southeast of Idyllwild and to the west of the Bonita Vista community. Pile burning and broadcast burning are part of fuels treatments that include mechanical removal of vegetation. Fuel reduction projects near mountain communities include removing dead trees as well as thinning and stacking piles of dense brush, and burning the piles in the wet season.