The U.S. Forest Service — San Bernardino National Forest — will perform a series of prescribed burns throughout the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain ranges.
The agency will set out to accomplish burning 2,800 acres of fuel in a series of prescribed burns by the end of spring.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) communicated in a press release earlier this week, “Fire crews only burn when it is safe and productive. A ‘burn boss,’ the person in charge of a prescribed burn, assesses numerous factors each morning before ignitions can begin. These factors include wind, humidity, air quality, fuel moisture and availability of fire crew personnel. If the criteria are met, creating a so-called ‘burn window,’ crews may move forward with burning.
“We set out each year to accomplish as much prescribed burning as we can, when it is safe to do so,” said Deputy Fire Chief Scott Howes. “We really appreciate the public’s continued support for this important work.”
The acres represent the amount of fuel cleared for the area.
San Jacinto Mountains (Idyllwild and Garner Valley)
• Thomas Mountain, south of Garner Valley (broadcast burn): 500 acres
• Cranston Fire burn areas, northeast of Lake Hemet (pile burn): 110 acres, scheduled to begin as early as 10 a.m. Jan. 6 in the area between the Keenwild Helibase and Apple Canyon Road.
•Garner Valley, east of Highway 74 (broadcast burn): 379 acres
• Pine Cove, north of Idyllwild (broadcast): 189 acres
• Strawberry Fuelbreak, west side of Idyllwild (pile burn): 52 acres
• Various fire stations (pile burn): 34 acres
Prescribed burning manages the forest land and assists in restoring the forest land to a healthy ecosystem. Fire plays a role in maintaining that health with fires, “Caused naturally by lightning, fire has long maintained the health of forests, clearing brush on the forest floor and releasing seeds from pine cones, among other natural processes.”
The USFS website explains, the right fire at the right place at the right time:
• Reduces hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires;
• Minimizes the spread of pest insects and disease;
• Removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem;
• Provides forage for game;
• Improves habitat for threatened and endangered species;
• Recycles nutrients back to the soil; and
• Promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers and other plants
Prescribed burns allow agencies to create a barrier around a community.
Pile and broadcast burning are two methods used to manage fuel. “Piles are created for brush clearance around facilities, such as fire stations and communications towers,” USFS wrote. “In other areas, they are created before broadcast burning can safely occur. Vegetation is removed to create spacing and low branches are limbed to limit a wildfire crawling up to a canopy of a tree. Broadcast burning occurs when firefighters treat an area within a pre-determined boundary, mimicking a low-intensity fire ignited by a lightning strike.”
Fire agencies, such as USFS, perform broadcast and pile burning to reduce fuel. However, fire officials encourage residents to abate their own properties to increase defensible space and abide by local fire abatement regulations.
For tips on how to harden your home and create a defensible space, visit www.readyforwildfire.org.