Big Bear News – Big Bear Lake, CA – San Bernardino National Forest officials are planning prescribed burns in the Big Bear area beginning as early as today, Thursday, May 14. The late wet winter and current spring conditions are ideal for prescribed burning. The broadcast burn on Bluff Mesa, southwest of Big Bear Lake, is expected to last through next week if conditions remain safe and productive for burning. The low-intensity prescribed burn will target needle cast and duff on forest floor. Smoke will be visible in the immediate area and may even be seen from areas off the mountain during ignitions. Smoke may continue to be visible for up to a month when the prescribed burn site goes into patrol status. The project is part of a larger effort to create defensible space for communities and infrastructure along the lake’s south shore. It is also aimed at restoring Bluff Meadow with 497 acres to the north and south of the meadow being targeted, with the remaining acres of the 1,184-acre project slated for burning at a later time, possibly next year. To date, over 1,000 acres have been treated in the Big Bear area with prescribed burning over the past several months. “One of our top priorities is to manage the forest to aid in protecting communities from wildfire,” said Mountaintop District Ranger Marc Stamer. “We have been preparing this area for prescribed burning for a number of years and are at a point where we can responsibly return fire to the landscape.” Forest service roads and trails may be impacted during this process.