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Prescribed Winter Burn Program to Resume in San Bernardino Nat'l Forest

Prescribed burning is planned in areas north and east of Redlands and Loma Linda, including near Angelus Oaks, Oak Glen, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Green Valley Lake, forest officials announced Wednesday.

Recent rain and snow have prompted the Forest Service to announce it will begin winter prescribed burning in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Prescribed burning is planned in areas north and east of Redlands and Loma Linda, including near Angelus Oaks, Oak Glen, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Green Valley Lake, forest officials announced Wednesday.

"Winter burning projects are part of a continuing effort to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health," forest spokesman John Miller said in a news release. "The prescribed fire program will continue through the winter months as weather and conditions permit."

Prescribed fires are ignited only when weather and fuel conditions exist that ensure low to moderate burning rates and firefighting resources are available to keep fires within fire lines, Forest Service Fire Chief Shawna Legarza said.

The lighting of 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, according to foresters.

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.

"We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on people, particularly those with respiratory conditions and allergies," Legarza said. "Every effort is made to ignite prescribed fires when weather patterns will carry smoke away from populated areas."

Ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District before and during prescribed burns, Miller said.

Firefighters will be burning slash and debris piles next to Forest Service fire stations, Miller said.

In addition to station pile burning, pile burning activities are tentatively planned in the following forest locations over the winter months:

San Bernardino Mountains:

  • Prescribed fire State Highway 38 as part of the Angelus Oaks Community Defense Project.
  • Slash and debris piles near Pisgah Peak, south of Oak Glen.
  • Slash and debris piles near the Oak Glen California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Conservation Camp.
  • Slash and debris piles along Forest Road 2N10, south of Big Bear Lake.
  • Slash and debris piles along Forest Road 2N19, south of Green Valley Lake.
  • Slash and debris piles along Highway 173 near Grass Valley Rd, north of Lake Arrowhead.
  • Slash and pile burning near various fire stations.

San Jacinto Mountains:

  • Prescribed fire near Lake Hemet, north of Highway 74 as part of the on-going Bonita Vista fuels reduction project.
  • Slash and pile burning near Saunders Meadow Road and 243, Lawler Lodge and 243, and near the community of Bonita Vista.
  • Slash and pile burning near various fire stations.

"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," Miller said.

The public can call to find out where the Forest Service is burning at the following numbers:

  • Big Bear Ranger Station & Discovery Center 909-382-2790
  • Lytle Creek Ranger Station 909-382-2851
  • Idyllwild Ranger Station 909-382-2922
  • Mill Creek Work Center 909-382-2882
  • Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument 760-862-9984

The San Bernardino National Forest covers more than 1,000 square miles in four distinct mountain ranges in two Southern California counties. Some portions are designated wilderness areas.

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