East County News Service
File photo by Nadin Abbott: San Felipe wildfire, a prescribed burn in San Diego's East County that got out of control in 2013.
August 21, 2015 (Anza-Borrego)—East County residents and a fire official have voiced concerns over a prescribed burn scheduled to be conducted by the California State Parks service today in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
“My opinion, not wise!” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna at the Verdugo Fire Academy in Los Angeles. DiGiovanna also author’s the “Chief’s Corner” column on East County Magazine. He questions why a burn would be done in mid-summer amid drought conditions. “I don't have all the facts," he acknowledges, "however, fuel moisture content is the lowest ever. We have bone dry drought conditions. We have over 11,000 firefighters on the west fighting multiple major blazes. Aircraft, resources, personnel are stripped thin. We risk it? What if it gets away?”
In 2013, a prescribed burn conducted by Cal Fire leaped out of control, becoming the San Felipe wildfire which charred over 2,800 acres including vast tracts of wilderness.
George Courser, an East County resident, asks why the brush at Carrizo Marsh couldn’t be cut and hauled to the Miramar landfill instead of burned. He asks how much greenhouse gas will be released by burning all that vegetation, adding, “Apparently no Climate Act Plan is in effect at the State Parks.”
State Parks has said that the prescribed burn is intended to reduce fuel and overall fire risk while “improving natural habitat for native species.” The Parks service indicated it would cancel the burn if weather conditions were unfavorable.
The burn was slated for the Carrizo Marsh Area, in the southern portion of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. A closure order was put in effect for Carrizo Marsh including the South Carrizo Creek access road in the prescribed burn area.
ECM called State Parks to ask if the burn was conducted and to request a response to concerns raised by our readers, but we have not yet received a response.