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South County : Fire Department to Burn 80 Acres in Two Canyons

The Orange County Fire Department will conduct a “prescribed” burn of about 80 acres in the Gabino Canyon and Verdugo Canyon area today, Sunday and Monday.

Department spokesman Joe Kerr said a prescribed burn differs from a controlled burn in that it is not accumulated debris that is set aflame. A prescribed burn covers a particular geographic area and is designed, in part, to provide a burned-out buffer zone in strategic location, he said.

Much of the brush in Orange County has been around for more than 10 years, and some is more than 100 years old, Kerr said. Noting that “fire is a natural process in the environmental cycle,” he said much of the targeted acreage consists of old, dried brush covered by newer growth.

This weekend’s burn is expected to reduce heavy grass and chaparral-type fuels, improve the watershed and provide better forage for wild animals, said Lou Furst, another department spokesman. Another objective is to provide training for firefighters in preparation for summer fire season.

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Furst said the burn is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. each day and end about 3 p.m. The access road to Gabino Canyon may be closed for limited times to ensure the public’s safety, he said, and the department will continuously patrol the involved area.

Smoke may be visible from the Ortega Highway area during the burn, Furst said.


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