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Smoke expected next week during south Placer fuel reduction project

A vehicle drives by down Foresthill Road on Friday, May 24, 2019, passing a sign that warns the U.S. Forest Service has performed a prescribed burn in the area to help fire suppression in the Tahoe National Forest.
A vehicle drives by down Foresthill Road on Friday, May 24, 2019, passing a sign that warns the U.S. Forest Service has performed a prescribed burn in the area to help fire suppression in the Tahoe National Forest. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

South Placer County residents can expect to see smoke June 19 and June 22 as part of an annual fuel reduction project and training exercise for volunteer firefighters and area fire agencies.

The project involves burning about 125 acres of grass west of the Athens Avenue-Fiddyment Road intersection, north of Roseville and west of Rocklin and Lincoln, according to a news release from Cal Fire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer unit.

Edges of the grass will be burned on Wednesday, June 19, while the prescribed burn will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 22, according to the news release. If significant fuels are left, firefighters will burn the remainder between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Cal Fire, the Placer County Fire Department, and Placer County Volunteer Firefighters will join forces in the activity.

The prescribed burns allow crews to practice diverse methods of firefighting and fire control, and provide agencies an opportunity to work collaboratively.

“The training aspect is astounding,” said Mary Elridge, spokeswoman at the Nevada-Yuba-Placer unit of Cal Fire. “We’ve got people who have gone through a volunteer academy or training, and this is an opportunity for them to use their tools to extinguish fires. People think firefighters just put water on fire, but there’s lots of tools instead of just water.”

The project, now about 20 years old, also aims to reduce the coverage of dry vegetation in the area that could fuel future fires, according to Elridge. The fuel break created by the prescribed burns could stop potential fires from spreading throughout the community.

Elridge said the targeted dry vegetation poses a high flammability risk this summer because last season’s heavier rains increased the density and height of the grass, as compared to earlier years.

Prescribed burns are one of the most effective wildfire preventative measures, according to Cal Fire.

For more information on wildfires, visit fire.ca.gov.

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