Years of drought and pitch canker fungal disease have taken a toll on forested areas of Hearst San Simeon State Park, so officials plan to burn diseased, dead and fallen Monterey pine trees and woody materials when conditions permit from Jan. 15 through Feb. 6.
Some public trails near the burn areas may be closed when the work is in progress.
People in Cambria or San Simeon, or those traveling near the coast, may see smoke from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the prescribed burn.
Officials urge residents who smell smoke to limit outdoor activities — especially strenuous ones — and remain indoors. Precautions are especially important for children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions.
Smoke-sensitive people should consider relocating activities and closing doors and windows on the day of the burn.
Officials also stress the need to use extreme caution while driving near burn operations.
No burning will be done if weather conditions preclude it. “The burn is dependent on weather and air-quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal,” according to a media advisory.
The prescribed fire program for vegetation management will be undertaken in cooperation with State Parks staff, Cal Fire, the county’s Air Pollution Control District and the state Air Resources Board. It’s designed to enhance the health of the forests by removing diseased materials, restoring essential nutrients to the soil and reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire, the media advisory said.
For details, call Vince Cicero, senior environmental scientist for the San Luis Obispo Coast District of State Parks at 471-2049.