UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: A 50-acre controlled burn was completed about 2:30 p.m. Thursday just north of Piedras Blancas Lighthouse between Highway 1 and the ocean, according to Vince Cicero of State Parks.
Original story: Thick smoke wafting over Cambria on Thursday afternoon is due to a controlled burn near Piedras Blancas. Cal Fire and State Parks are conducting the burn near the lighthouse.
The odor of smoke has prompted several calls to The Cambrian newspaper office, including at least one complaining of difficulty breathing as a result of the smoke.
Early in August, State Parks announced deliberate burning of brush in three State Parks along the North Coast could begin anytime through November. Local media were not notified in advance of Thursday's burn.
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Plans called for the prescribed burns to take place on about 490 acres of grassland and coastal scrub in parks stretching from Cayucos to Piedras Blancas.
State Parks conducts the burns in cooperation with Cal Fire, the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District, the Cayucos Land Conservancy and the Bureau of Land Management.
The burns are supposed to enhance the health of native plant communities, encourage increased species diversity, keep coastal views open and help control non-native, weedy species, according to State Parks.