(KTXL) — State and federal fire and forest managers are racing against the clock to rid fuels that can expand wildland fires.
Preventing the spread of a wildfire can save lives and property, and beats fighting one that gets out of control, as Californians have seen over the past few years.
Controlled burns are scheduled this week off Highway 50 near Pollock Pines by Cal Fire and the Tahoe National Forest near Foresthill by the United States Forest Service, where crews began burning nearly 700 acres of land littered with volatile fuels.
Many of the targeted burns are where previous fires made room for thick brush to grow. It is mixed in with fallen branches from dead and dying trees from recent burns.
The area is a few miles from Foresthill, which lives under constant threat of runaway wildland fires.
This is a crucial time of year for forest managers, who want to get rid of combustible fuels that can aid in the expansion of dangerous and deadly wildfires. They want to do it before the weather begins to change.
While cool temperatures prevail now, predictions of a severe drought usually mean high temperatures and low humidity — a bad formula for wildland fires.
While a good deal of progress was made on prescribed burns during a mild winter, the clock is ticking to get as much dangerous fuel burned off as possible under controlled conditions before warmer weather arrives.
As an example of the struggle fire managers have with the weather, Cal Fire crews had to halt a controlled burn near Sly Park because the area was too moist, setting their burn schedule back.