November 16, 2009 (Cuyamaca) -- Personnel from Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, in cooperation with CAL FIRE, will conduct a controlled burn on Middle Peak north of Cuyamaca Peak on Wednesday. Smoke and flames will be visible from many areas in the county due to high altitude location. Residents in Ramona will have an especially clear view, although the burn is many miles away. The burn will begin about 9 a.m. and should conclude by 4 p.m., with patrol operations continuing for several days. Due to many dead trees in the burn area, smoke may continue to be visible for several days after the burn is completed.
The purpose of this burn is to clear 70 acres of vegetation and make the area ready for planting of 20,000 tree seedlings early next year as part of ongoing reforestation efforts in the Park. Removal of this vegetation will not only make the job of planting easier, but allow the seedlings a much better chance of survival by reducing competition for sunlight and scarce water. Removal of dead trees will also assist in the reforestation efforts and help to make the Park safer for visitors.
While the vast majority of controlled burns help prevent more devastating fires by removing brush during favorable weather conditions, controlled burns have sparked some recent controversy. The Loma Fire, which burned 435 areas near Santa Cruz in October, may have been caused by a controlled burn, fire officials have reported.
http://www.firehouse.com/topic/wildland/controlled-burns-may-have-caused-calif-wildfire. In 2000, a controlled burn that flared out of control charred 37,000 acres near Los Alamos. http://speakout.com/activism/issue_briefs/1359b-1.html. Locally, a controlled burn during the 2007 Poomacha Fire has been blamed on loss of a home and damage to other properties, eyewitnesses have informed East County Magazine.
East County Magazine is notifying our subscribers about this controlled burn via the Viejas Wildfire & Emergency alert e-mail system. If you have not yet signed up, just click the "subscribe" button at the top right of our homepage. Subscriptions are free, and you will never receive any junk mail -- only alerts about major fires or other regional emergencies in San Diego County.