MOUNTAIN CENTER (CNS) – Slash pile burning Friday by federal firefighters in the San Bernardino National Forest, near Mountain Center, prompted 911 reports of a wildfire, but the U.S. Forest Service reminded motorists and residents that it was a prescribed burn.
Crews are working to eliminate roughly 600 acres of excess foliage on the Riverside County side of the 676,000-acre national preserve.
Controlled burns have been scheduled on a recurring basis since November, whenever conditions are appropriate, with no threat of high winds or extremely low humidity.
The burn operation Friday morning was initiated southeast of Mountain Center, according to the USFS. The smoke was visible from multiple points along Highway 74 in Mountain Center and surrounding communities, leading to the 911 calls, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Burns are closely monitored and immediately suspended when there are signs of changing weather.
Officials advised motorists, as well as people on hiking and biking trails and in campgrounds near Mountain Center not to be alarmed by the smoke.
Slash pile burning, which as the name implies, involves torching piles of brush to clear space around fire stations, communications towers and other facilities.
No road closures have been announced in connection with the burns, which are slated to continue next week.
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