Crews to proceed with prescribed burns of excess vegetation in San Bernardino National Forest

Taking advantage of cool and calm weather, U.S. Forest Service firefighters today began a series of controlled burns in the San Bernardino National Forest to eliminate excess vegetation.

The prescribed burn operations got underway this morning near the Vista Grande Fire Station, south of Banning and just north of Idyllwild, along state Route 243, according to the USFS.

Agency spokesman Zach Behrens said three large “slash piles” will be burned to ash at the location.

Additional burns are scheduled in the Pine Cove area, south of Idyllwild, Tuesday and Wednesday. According to Behrens, as many as 3,000 piles may be torched to clear deadwood, overgrown brush and foliage throughout the 215-acre “Pine Cove Fuel Break.”

“Reducing these fuels help reduce the risk of wildfire affecting communities, infrastructure and watersheds,” Behrens said.

He said that, as long as there’s rain in the forecast and no significant wind, the burns will proceed on schedule.

The Forest Service spokesman noted that motorists should not be alarmed if they spot smoke rising in the San Bernardino National Forest between Pine Cove and Idyllwild. He also cautioned drivers to slow down if they see fire crews walking along the side of the highway or other roads around the San Jacinto Mountains.

Information regarding prescribed burns, including when and where they’re happening, can be obtained by calling the Forest Service at (909) 382-2711.

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