Brice Muenzer, Fire Captain – Pre-Fire Planning, San Benito Monterey Unit called me yesterday in an effort to get information to the Big Sur community regarding a planned prescribed burn to take place sometime mid to late October at Andrew Molera State Park.
Of course, the date ultimately employed will depend on conditions, and a press release will be sent out, but it often cannot be sent until a couple days in advance and rarely includes the details on strategies and ecological benefits Muenzer was able to provide to us in a phone call.
There are two blocks of land slated for prescriptive burns; one is 22 acres and the other is ten. Both are on the west side of Highway One near the El Sur Ranch. Cal Fire has been using multiple masticators on the brush fuel in the area so that they can keep the flame heights to between 2-5 feet, with slightly higher height in the islands, keeping it to the grass line. The purpose is to help restore native grasses to the area, and keeping brush native, as well.
During the operation there will be a helicopter on site, a dozer, numerous engines and hand crews.
Cal Fire will also be working with Caltrans to keep any impacts to highway one and the traveling public to a minimum. It is possible, due to wind direction, that smoke may waft across the highway, necessitating the intermittent closure of one lane. It is not anticipated that a full closure of Highway One will be necessary at any point.
Cal Fire is often asked why it chooses this time of year. The answer, of course, is that this is the optimum time of year due to conditions such as moisture levels, fuel loads, weather conditions including wind, rain, etc.
If you have any questions please feel free to call Cal Fire’s Garden Rd Office. 831 333-4600 and ask for Brice Muenzer.