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SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Los Padres National Forest has scheduled a prescribed burn for Camino Cielo, with a burn window starting in March and lasting through the spring. The goal of this burn is to reduce the risk of wildfire by reducing hazardous fuels and allowing better access to firefighting operations when necessary. This burn will maintain the Camino Cielo fire break, which is part of the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and part of the Santa Barbara Mountain Community Defense Zone Project. Prescribed, or planned, fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. Prescribed burns can help prevent the spread of wildfires and can reduce impacts to watersheds that can result in soil loss and sedimentation.

The total burn acreage for this project is approximately 450 acres, which will be broken up into smaller units of 15-35 acres each; within those smaller units, burn plots consist of 2-5 acres of previously cut brush and excess surface fuels. Ahead of every week through the spring when there is potential for burning to occur, a reminder media advisory will be issued.

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff have reviewed the Smoke Management Plan and provided conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County. The burns will be conducted when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers.

This prescribed burn is planned and coordinated by Santa Barbara County APCD, San Luis Obispo County APCD, San Joaquin Valley APCD, Ventura County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities. The burn is dependent on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable to smoke dispersion. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.

Due to changing winds and weather conditions, it is difficult to predict which areas of the county, if any, may be most affected by smoke from the burn. If you smell smoke, take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities. When you can smell smoke or when it is visible in your area, avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important to children, older adults, and those with heart and lung conditions. Use caution when driving near prescribed burns due to reduced visibility.

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