SAN LUIS OBISPO — The California Department of Parks and Recreation tentatively plans to conduct prescribed burns in several coastal state parks within San Luis Obispo County between Oct. 2 and May 31, 2019. The effort will be carried out in cooperation with Cal Fire, the Morro Bay Fire Department and the Air Pollution Control District.
Burning may occur in Hearst San Simeon, Montana de Oro, Morro Bay, Estero Bluffs and Harmony Headlands state parks. The work will include grassland and coastal scrub burns, as well as broadcast and pile burns to address diseased, dead and downed Monterey pines.
These burns are part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management and fuel load reduction. The Monterey pine forests at Hearst San Simeon and Morro Bay state parks are experiencing major die-offs due to pine pitch canker disease, compounded by years of drought. This treatment will enhance the health of the forests by removing diseased materials, restoring essential nutrients to the soil, and reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire.
The prescribed burns will reduce dangerous fuel loads adjacent to housing communities. In grassland and scrub areas, fire will be reintroduced as a component of the ecosystem on a rotational basis.
Note that these prescribed burns are planned and coordinated with the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District and the California Air Resources Board in order to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities. All burning is dependent on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If conditions are not as desired, the burns will be re-scheduled. For burn schedule announcements, follow the APCD on Twitter @SLOCleanAir or on their website at SLOCleanAir.org.