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USFS begins 2,500-acre prescribed burn In San Bernardino National Forest

San Bernardino National Forest

A controlled burn to eliminate 2,500 acres of overgrowth in the San Bernardino National Forest near Anza got underway today, with plans for a continuation of operations over the next week or so.

The burn is focused around 6,825-foot Thomas Mountain, south of Lake Hemet and just west of Highway 74, according to the Forest Service.   

"The San Jacinto Ranger District intends to complete approximately 2,500 acres,'' the agency stated. "A  prescribed burn of 2,500 acres (also) occurred on Thomas Mountain in the summer of 2023.''

The operation started shortly before 7 a.m. Monday and was expected to continue until at least June 17, though it could be extended toward the end of the month, depending on weather conditions, rangers said.   

The California Highway Patrol received calls reporting a brush fire on the mountainside Monday morning, but it was only the prescribed burn, authorities said.

Smoke from the operation, which is intended to clear dead and excess vegetation that could provide fuel for wildfires, is visible from the Anza Valley, parts of the Coachella Valley, Idyllwild and areas of northern San Diego County.

Residents and visitors were advised not to be alarmed by the rising smoke columns.

The USFS said closures are in effect on dirt roads within the San Bernardino National Forest, but not on the highways coursing through the preserve.

Further information is available at

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