LOCKWOOD — California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) San Benito-Monterey Unit plans to conduct piles burning on the West Side Fuel Break in the area of Lockwood in South Monterey County during the months of February and March.
“The purpose of the project is to reintroduce fire into the ecosystem, thereby reducing hazardous fire fuels by removing brush and downed woody debris, enhancing the fire safety,” Cal Fire stated in a news release. “This type of exercise also provides valuable hands-on training for fire personnel in fire suppression activities while working safely in a controlled environment.”
Winter brings cooler temperatures and precipitation, which are ideal for conducting prescribed fire operations.
Each operation follows a specialized burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation and conditions for dispersal of smoke. All this information is used to decide when and where to burn.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition, depending on the project size, conditions and weather. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by wildland fires.
Smoke from this control burn will be visible in the Lockwood valley. Weather conditions will be monitored, and the burn may be postponed if burning conditions are found to be unfavorable.
“Cal Fire is in close consultation with the National Weather Service’s Monterey office and Monterey Bay Air Resources District to ensure that the burn takes place in appropriate weather conditions,” Cal Fire stated. “The project may be postponed if conditions are not conducive to a safe burn.”
For more information on preparing for and preventing wildfires, visit ReadyForWildfire.org.