Figueroa Mountain burning

U.S. Forest Service crews burn slash piles on Figueroa Mountain as part of a fuels reduction program to reduce wildfire risk on Los Padres National Forest.

The U.S. Forest Service started a pile burning operation Thursday on Figueroa Mountain, and additional burns are planned through the rest of March, a Los Padres National Forest spokesman said.

Crews plan to burn from 1 to 10 acres of slash from felled dead trees and brush each day, said Andrew Madsen, Los Padres public affairs officer.

Burning operations will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude by 5 p.m. on permissive burn days when weather conditions are right to direct smoke away from populated areas, Madsen said.

The goal of the one-day pile burns are to reduce the risk of wildfire and lessen the impacts should a wildfire break out in the area, he said.

Prescribed burns can help prevent wildfires from spreading and can reduce the impacts on watersheds resulting from soil loss and sedimentation.

The burning operation is planned and coordinated by the Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, San Joaquin Valley and Ventura County air pollution control districts and the California Air Resources Board to minimize impacts on area communities.

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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