Information provided by the Cal Fire and the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) San Mateo Santa Cruz Unit, in cooperation with California State Parks, are planning to begin prescribed burns in the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. Ignitions are planned beginning Presidents Day week, as conditions allow. Though the burns will take place in Santa Cruz County, smoke may be visible in San Benito County.
According to a recent release, the burns are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19. Monitoring with proactive patrols will continue through the week and weekend.
The burn is part of a larger fuel reduction project and is one of 35 high priority statewide projects identified by Cal Fire. These projects resulted from the State of Emergency proclaimed by Governor Newsom to address future wildfires. This burn is part of a long-term strategy to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and to maintain chaparral habitat. This habitat type relies on fire to maintain its unique assemblage of species.
The prescribed burn is permitted, planned and coordinated with the Monterey Bay Air Quality Management District in order to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities, the release said. All burning depends on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not conducive for burning, the burn will be rescheduled.
Aptos Creek Fire Road adjacent to the burn will be closed during active burning. People around the Monterey Bay area as well as the Santa Clara and San Jose area will likely see smoke on the day of the burns. In the unlikely event you smell smoke, Santa Cruz County officials urge you to take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities.
Prescribed burns produce significantly less smoke than wildfire, the release said. If you see or smell smoke in your surroundings, officials recommend avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and remaining indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important for children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions.