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Prescribed Burns in SF Bay Area

Yesterday I was surprised to see a large smoke cloud over the Diablo Range east of Santa Clara Valley, in the area of Mount Hamilton and Lick Observatory. It is unusual to see fires this late in the season, but I assumed that perhaps our less-than-typical rainfall might be playing a part.

Today the California Fire News blog reports that this fire, a fire in Big Basin, and others not too far away are actually prescribed burns. I’m used to seeing this in the Sierra in the fall, but it is a new development – as far as I know – in the Bay Area. It is also probably a very good idea given that wildfires in areas where fires have been long suppressed have the potential to do very serious damage.


November 29, 2007 - Posted by | Commentary, Environment


  1. It is an impressive plume. Then I thought about the conditions, no wind, cool temperatures, but still dry. It’s pretty much perfect to control a fire. Just hoping that it all goes well and no one gets hurt.

    Comment by Tom Clifton | November 29, 2007

  2. Hi Tom.

    Yes, these are more or less the conditions in which I’ve seen this done in the Sierra in the late season. The plume looks pretty big again today.


    Comment by Dan Mitchell | November 29, 2007

  3. Dan – I didn’t realize you weren’t up to date on controlled burns in park lands. Mt. Diablo State Park has had protocol in place since the ’80’s. http://www.mdia.org/firemanagement.htm

    Comment by RAPearsons | December 5, 2007

  4. Ruth Ann, there are lots of things that I’m not up to date on… :-)

    I’ve done a better job of keeping track of this issue in the Sierra than locally. It is interesting to know that they’ve been doing it at Diablo also.


    Comment by Dan Mitchell | December 5, 2007

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