IDYLLWILD (CNS) – Controlled burns are continuing this week in the San Bernardino National Forest south of Idyllwild to eliminate overgrowth, according to a U.S. Forest Service official, who said motorists and others in the area should not to be alarmed by the smoke.
According to the USFS, controlled burns that got underway in November will move forward over the next few days, as long as atmospheric conditions remain favorable.
Agency spokesman Zach Behrens said a 20-acre burn is ongoing south of Idyllwild and Pine Cove to improve the Westridge Fuel Break.
Additional programmed burns are scheduled farther north in San Bernardino County, where hundreds of piles of dead vegetation are being set aflame.
“The projects help create a buffer around communities where firefighters can safely work between homes and a wildfire,” Behrens said. “To date, fire crews have accomplished over 800 acres of fuels reduction across the San Bernardino National Forest for the 2019-20 season.”
The USFS advised residents and commuters not to be alarmed by the smoke columns, which will be visible in the San Gorgonio Pass and farther south along state Route 74, east of Hemet.
The burns have a restorative effect on the area ecology by ridding the forest of debris and excess timber, as well as widening defensive perimeters when blazes erupt, according to the Forest Service.