The Santa Barbara County Fire Department has annunced two prescribed fires (burns) that will occur in November. Prescribed 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 two upcoming prescribed burns are facilitated by TREX (Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges). TREX exercises bring firefighting partners together to expand their experience with prescribed burns and are facilitated independently of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Department will participate by providing fire contingency resources to ensure the fire is contained to the property of origin. Two different locations will be utilized during this event to facilitate the needs of participants involved in this training program.
Research components of this program help to refine knowledge of the impacts of utilizing prescribed fire on the landscape.
Dangermond TREX burn: In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, this burn will occur along Jalama Road outside of Lompoc. About 276 acres will be burned during the training period, lasting up to eight days. A mixture of sage scrub and oak woodland will be burned.
Sedgwick TREX burn: In partnership with the UCSB Cooperative Extension, this burn will occur on the Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley. About 20 acres will be burned over one-two days. A mixture of grasses and shrubs will be burned.
Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff review the Smoke Management Plans and provide conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County. The burns will occur when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers.
Once the burn day has been selected for each burn, a day-before media advisory will be issued.
TREX event prescribed burns are conducted independent of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. They are planned and implemented by private burn bosses in coordination Santa Barbara County Fire Department, 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 or cancelled.
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. If you are sensitive to smoke, consider temporarily relocating and closing all doors and windows on the day of the burn.
Symptoms of smoke exposure can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, nausea, and unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. Use caution while driving near prescribed fire operations.
For more information regarding the county’s air quality, visit www.OurAir.org. To view a statewide prescribed burn map and other features, visit the Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System website.