Prescribed burning operations in the San Jacinto Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest will begin in the next few week, according to a U.S. Forest Service release.

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

Winter burning projects also will resume as 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 and spring months as weather and conditions permit.

Prescribed fires, including both understory and pile burning, are intended to reduce the amount of vegetation — such as needles, small plants, brush and small trees — that 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, the Forest Service reported in its press release.

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, and appropriate conditions, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District 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.

In addition to the station pile burning, the public may also see smoke from pile-burning activities in the following San Jacinto Mountains forest locations over the next several months:

• Prescribed fire on Thomas Mountain, east of Ramona Indian Reservation and west of Garner Valley.

Slash and debris piles burning:

• Unit 1 Pine Cove, south and west of Pine Cove

• Unit 2 South Ridge, south of Idyllwild

• Unit 3 Strawberry/West Ridge, southeast of Strawberry Creek and west of Dry Creek

• Near various fire stations

For more information on where the Forest Service is burning, the public can call the Idyllwild Ranger Station at 909-382-2921.