Cal Fire (the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection), in cooperation with California State Parks, will be conducting a prescribed burn consisting of brush and slash piles in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park off Highway 243 in the Stone Creek area. The project began Tuesday, Jan. 31, and will continue for the next couple of weeks, if the weather permits, according to the Riverside County Fire Department press release.

The number of available burn days and weather will determine the project’s finish and final burn date.

This burn is being conducted as part of the Cal Fire Vegetation Management Program and is intended to reduce hazardous vegetation and wildland fuels in an area considered to be at high risk for large and damaging wildfires.

Residents in the Idyllwild and Pine Cove area or anyone travelling along Highway 243 may see smoke from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the days of the burn. In the unlikely event that smoke can be smelled, county officials urge the public to take precautions to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities.

The prescribed burn was planned and coordinated with the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities. The burn is dependent on weather and air-quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.

Prescribed burns are conducted to help reduce the wildfire risk and promote biodiversity through the development of young trees, shrubs and grasses in a fire-dependent ecosystem.