Controlled burn planned along plateau west of Murrieta

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MURRIETA (CNS) – Riverside County fire crews will be conducting a controlled burn along the perimeter of the Cleveland National Forest west of Murrieta today and in the ensuing days to clear 80 acres of excess vegetation, and residents and motorists were advised not to be alarmed by the smoke.

According to Cal Fire, crews are slated to carry out the prescribed burn between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday at the edge of the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve.

The operation will be concentrated close to the intersection of Cleveland Forest and Tenaja roads, and it will only go forward as long as weather conditions permit.

“The project is aimed at eliminating non-native, evasive plant species, namely Star Thistle, and (promote) habitat restoration.,” according to a Cal Fire statement. “In addition to the ecological benefits, the burn will serve as fire suppression training for Cal Fire engine crews, along with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate hand crews.”

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife will be supervising the operation, which officials acknowledged will result in smoke columns that are visible from Interstate 15, Murrieta and Temecula.

Cal Fire asked the public to bear this in mind before calling to report a fire in the area.

Anyone with questions or concerns was asked to contact the county fire public information bureau at 951-940-6985.