Preisker Park in Santa Maria is closed to the public while being used as the incident command post for wildfires burning about 20 miles east of the city.
The length of the closure depends on the fires and the U.S. Forest Service. The park was closed to the public starting Friday. Forest Service staff members on Tuesday estimated that the fire would be contained Thursday but could not provide an estimate when firefighters would leave the park.
There are 500 firefighters working the blazes. The Forest Service is using the park for offices and medical trailers, a kitchen, showers, a fuel depot and for overnight sleeping accommodations for the firefighters.
Some members of the public who have rented Preisker Park facilities have worked with the city to find alternate locations.
People with questions regarding future reservations at Preisker Park are asked to contact the City Recreation and Parks Department at 805.925.0951, ext. 260.
The city has 26 other parks that are open, including the nearby North Preisker Ranch Park, 801 W. Boxcar, at the corner of Hidden Pines Way and Railroad Avenue. Another nearby park is Jim May Park, 809 Stanford Drive, with 11 acres including a lake. Preisker Park is the city’s largest park and is located at the northern end of Santa Maria at 330 Hidden Pines Way.
For fire information, call the U.S. Forest Service at 805.349.2276.
Mark van de Kamp is a management analyst in the Santa Maria city manager’s office.