For the third time this month, a controlled burn to clear excess vegetation in the El Cariso community just west of Lake Elsinore is planned Wednesday, and residents and motorists were advised not to be alarmed by the smoke.

According to the Riverside County Fire Department, crews are slated to conduct slash pile burning between 6 a.m. and noon Wednesday in the vicinity of the Ortega (74) Highway.

Similar operations were carried out in the same general area on Feb. 7 and Feb. 12. Showers are forecast to move into the region Thursday, leaving a window of opportunity to beat the weather.

“Smoke will be visible from nearby communities, but it will disperse quickly and is not expected to be a health hazard,” according to a fire department statement.

Officials said the aim of the prescribed burn is to eliminate non-native grasses, as well as overgrowth of brush that could supply fuel for wildfires after the winter rainy season ends.

Crews will monitor conditions and suspend operations if winds pick up, officials said.

In addition to county fire personnel, firefighters from other agencies will be on hand, using the hazard mitigation operation as an opportunity to enhance skills.

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

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