Riverside County fire crews are scheduled Thursday to finish a controlled burn just south of Lake Mathews to clear excess brush, and residents and motorists were advised not to be alarmed by the smoke.
Crews initiated the prescribed burn operation Wednesday around the Estelle Mountain Reserve, in the vicinity of Cajalco Road and La Sierra Avenue.
Roughly 160 acres were burned to soil, leaving about 60 acres of grass and weeds for firefighters to eliminate Thursday between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The operation will only go forward as long as weather conditions permit.
“The project is aimed at eliminating non-native grass, as well as the hazard posed by flammable vegetation,” according to a Cal Fire statement. “In addition to the ecological and hazard reduction benefits, firefighters from multiple departments are provided the opportunity to participate in valuable wildland fire suppression training.”
Controlled burns have been carried out in the area in recent weeks in preparation for Wildfire Season, which usually runs into November.
Inmate hand crews will join full-time fire personnel in carrying out the burn, which is supported by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency.
Smoke columns will be visible for miles around, including the Riverside (91) Freeway and Interstates 15 and 215. Officials asked the public to bear this in mind before calling to report a brush fire in the area.
Anyone with questions or concerns was asked to contact the county fire public information bureau at 951-940-6985.
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