Big Bear Valley, CA, November 21, 2013 – The Forest Service is taking advantage of the wintry weather this week by burning slash and debris piles along 2N93, west of SR38/Erwin Lake and south of Sugarloaf. Smoke will be visible throughout the valley.

Prescribed winter burning projects are part of a continuing effort to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health in the San Bernardino National Forest.  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 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.

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment, appropriate conditions, and in coordination with the National Weather Service and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) before and during prescribed burns in order to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

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.

Firefighters will be burning slash and debris piles adjacent to Forest Service Fire Stations.  Signs will be posted along the roadways to alert passerby’s to the burning activity.  The Forest Service will send out occasional reminders to the public, alerting to 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 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 burning:

  • 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
  • SR18 near Heaps Peak Helibase and Arboretum
  • Slash and pile burning near various fire stations.

The public can call Big Bear Ranger Station & Discovery Center at (909) 382-2790 for more information.