Plumas County residents in some areas might be alarmed by the smoke they are seeing, but it’s part of the Plumas National Forest’s prescribed burning plan. Today, June 27, there are three projects underway totaling 137 acres.
On the Beckwourth Ranger District, conditions remain within prescription today and firefighters are igniting approximately 50 acres on the Big Hill Project near Cromberg. Smoke is expected to continue to be visible but not have significant long-term impacts to nearby communities, including Cromberg, Sloat, Greenhorn Ranch, Mohawk Valley, Graeagle, Quincy and the surrounding area.
The Feather River Ranger District will be treating approximately 56 acres west of Wyandotte Campground near Little Grass Valley Reservoir Recreation Area. This fuel reduction is critical for community protection, including nearby homes, as well as public safety in the recreation area. Smoke is expected to be visible but not have significant long-term impacts to nearby communities, including La Porte and the surrounding area. This afternoon, smoke is predicted to move away from the community and over the lake.
On the Mount Hough Ranger District, firefighters are planning to treat approximately 31 acres in Butterfly Valley near Quincy. Smoke is expected to be visible but not have significant long-term impacts to nearby communities, including Quincy, Meadow Valley and the surrounding area.
Smoke is likely to be more visible from all of these prescribed burning operations due to the higher fuel moistures, which in turn is providing the conditions for the projects to be within prescription. The smoke is generally settling at night, lifting and dispersing during the day. Short duration, minor smoke impacts are expected to continue California Highways 70 and 89, La Porte Road and neighboring forest roads. Visibility on roads in the project areas may be reduced, especially early in the morning and late evening as smoke settles. There will also be increased firefighting equipment traffic in the area, particularly in the morning and evening hours. Drivers in the area should use caution.
“It is rare for us to have these conditions this late in the season and to be able to continue critical work using prescribed burning for fuel reduction to help us protect local communities,” said Plumas National Forest Deputy Fire Management Officer Marty Senter. “With the July Fourth holiday weekend coming up and numerous community events and people recreating in the Forest, we plan to pause ignitions soon until the fall, unless cooler, wet weather returns after the holiday.”
Numerous firefighting resources are on the Forest right now to support prescribed burning operations while ensuring there is coverage for initial attack and mutual aid response. If weather conditions become unfavorable, including increased or gusty winds in the area, burning will stop until conditions improve. Firefighters will be monitoring conditions throughout the operation.
They also plan to stay overnight on the prescribed burns on the Beckwourth and Feather River Ranger District as additional monitoring.