An operation to burn piles of rotted timber, fallen tree limbs and excess foliage around a fire station in Garner Valley, south of Mountain Center, went off without a hitch Tuesday, and crews are scheduled to conduct a similar controlled burn Wednesday.
U.S. Forest Service firefighters spent most of the day clearing roughly five acres of vegetation at the Kenworthy Fire Station along state Route 74, taking advantage of cool, calm conditions to initiate the prescribed burn, agency spokesman Zach Behrens told City News Service.
He said crews still need to clear away another five acres at the site, but that operation will be moved into next week.
However, USFS personnel will be deploying about 9 a.m. Wednesday for slash pile burning at the Vista Grande Fire Station at 19401 Highway 243, north of Idyllwild, according to Behrens.
He advised that Banning Pass residents and motorists traveling through the area should not be alarmed by the columns of smoke resulting from the 11.5-acre burn, which will be within the San Bernardino National Forest.
Crews will be monitoring weather conditions, and if winds pick up, the operation will be halted.
Most of the slash piles consist of overgrowth that needs to be eliminated in the vicinity of the firehouse, Behrens said.
Prescribed burns are routinely used during the winter season to clear spaces that might otherwise provide fuel for wildfires in the late spring and summer.
Anyone with questions or concerns was invited to contact the USFS Idyllwild Ranger Station at (909) 382-2922.
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