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CAL FIRE SLO works to prevent fires with prescribed burns

Posted at 7:01 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-02 22:23:03-05

CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo conducted one of their scheduled burns Wednesday, in the Santa Margarita hills near Park Hill. Several of these burns are and have been in the books for a while, but postponed due to weather risks. The one from Wednesday was canceled just the day before because of high winds.

Whenever possible CAL FIRE likes to knock down as many prescribed burns as possible, because weather is not the only reason for a cancelation. CAL FIRE SLO Captain, Adan Orozco, mentioning that fire activity in near by areas could also cause a postponement.

"If the wildfire activity is too great across the state we’ll cancel those projects because we have to have resources available to assist in our neighboring areas, or for an incident that might happen in our own area," explained Orozco.

The area they worked on Wednesday is part of a residence in the Park Hill area. For Ray Boches, the owner of the 40-acre property, this project is a huge help. Before crews started work on his backyard, Boches described it as filled with the brush "6-8 feet high", Unable to see the giant boulders underneath before, let alone fight a fire if one were to break out.

After being there for 52 some odd years Boches is no stranger to the danger of wildfires, living through several right in his backyard.

"Its surreal when there's a fire in the area, you come out and just keep looking up at it and you think you’ve cleared everything around your house until a fires burning and you're looking up and you think you haven’t done anything," said Boches.

Each burn project is different, some could be thousands of acres large. That doesn't mean burning few thousand acres at a time, but burning off in chunks.

Again, depending on weather to determine how many piles get done a day. Following burn permit protocol, crews group then light everything in 4 by 4 by 4 piles. They monitor them until there's no longer a threat, then pack it up for the day.

CAL FIRE SLO and California State Parks both have more prescribed burns scheduled for the next couple of weeks, depending on the weather.

These projects are possible through a combination of grant and state funding.