Smoke Rising From Santa Ana Mountains Seen From Ortega Highway, I-15

LAKE ELSINORE, CA — Drivers along I-15 and the Ortega Highway have reported seeing a column of smoke rising from the Santa Ana mountain range. It’s all part of a prescribed burn in the Trabuco Ranger District, according to US Forest Service spokesperson Nathan Judy.

Smoke is visible in Orange County, Riverside County, Corona, and other surrounding communities, according to reports from the Forest Service.

The district is conducting a broadcast burn this week through Feb. 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as weather permits and environmental conditions allow, Judy said.

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“There are approximately 120 acres planned during this broadcast burn,” he said. “Residents and visitors will see smoke throughout the week from areas of the 241, I-5, I-15, Eagle Canyon Road, Bedford Ridge Road, North Main Divide Road, and surrounding communities. There is no need to report the smoke.”

When firefighters broadcast burn, they ignite areas with little to no forest canopy, he said. These are grassland, shrubland, and oak woodland areas.

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“This type of burning is often used for habitat restoration and fuel reduction,” Judy said.

As firefighters from the US Forest Service manage the broadcast burn, the fire will spread controlled, using specialized equipment like drip torches or aerial ignition devices.

“The fires are closely monitored to ensure they remain within the designated area and do not spread beyond control,” Judy said.

The burn will continue until Friday, weather permitting, due to expected rain.

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