Forest Service Conducting Controlled Burns In San Bernardino Mountains

(November 22)  The Forest Service has begun its winter prescribed burn program in the San Bernardino National Forest with the onset of predicted favorable weather conditions, officials said.
According to John Miller, an official spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, “The San Bernardino National Forest has started this season’s prescribed burning program. 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 months as weather and conditions permit.”
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 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 ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, appropriate conditions, and is done in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District, Miller said. The consultation with the weather service and air quality officials before and during prescribed burns is intended to help manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible, Miller said.
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, according to the Fire Service.
At present, firefighters are conducting burnings of 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, warning of  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 San Bernardino Mountain forest locations over the winter months:  a prescribed fire near State Highway 38 as part of the Angelus Oaks Community Defense Project; and slash and debris piles burning on Forest Road 1S07 Pisgah Peak Road, Oak Glen near Pisgah Peak; Yucaipa Ridge, north of Oak Glen; Forest Road 2N10, Southside of Big Bear Lake, west of Bear Mountain; Forest Road 2N93, south of Sugarloaf, west of Erwin Lake; Forest Road 2N19, south of Green Valley Lake; SR173 north of Grass Valley Rd in Lake Arrowhead; and SR18 near Heaps Peak Helibase and Arboretum.
“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,” Miller said.
The phone number for the Big Bear Ranger Station & Discovery Center is 909-382-2790. The phone number for the Lytle Creek Ranger Station is 909-382-2851.

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