Fire crews to conduct prescribed burn in preserve

TEMECULA – Riverside County firefighters tomorrow will initiate a two-day controlled burn in the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, just west of Temecula, to eliminate excess vegetation.

Crews will be burning off about 105 acres Tuesday and 155 acres on Wednesday, according to fire department officials. Operations will be concentrated in the area of Mesa de Colorado, between 6 a.m. and noon both days.

Motorists along Interstate 15 and residents of La Cresta and other Temecula Valley communities may be able to see the smoke but should not be alarmed, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

Several controlled burns have been conducted countywide since the start of the year, without any complications.

The goal on each occasion is to remove non-native grasses, as well as reduce potential fuels for wildfires and give “firefighters … the opportunity to participate in valuable wildland fire suppressions training,'” according to a fire department statement.

If winds pick up, or there’s any change in the weather that could result in an air quality risk to area residents, burning operations will be halted, officials said.

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