Bar M Prescribed Burn to Occur by end of January

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By the Air Pollution Control District

The Santa Barbara County Range Improvement Association, in cooperation with County Fire Department, plans to conduct a prescribed burn before the end of January. Prescribed fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. Prescribed burns can help prevent the spread of wildfires and can reduce impacts to watersheds that can result in soil loss and sedimentation.

The Bar M burn is a range improvement burn to improve herbaceous forage for livestock. It will occur approximately 6 miles southeast of Los Alamos at the Bar M Ranch (also known as Barham Ranch). Approximately 65 acres of sage scrub and Oak Woodland with grass understory will be burned. This will be a one-day burn.

Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) staff review the Smoke Management Plans and provide conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County. The burns will occur when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers. Once the burn day has been selected for each burn, a day-before media advisory will be issued.

Prescribed burns are planned and coordinated by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County APCD, San Luis Obispo County APCD, San Joaquin Valley APCD, Ventura County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board in order to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities. The burn is dependent on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable to smoke dispersion. If the conditions are not as desired, the burn will be rescheduled.

Due to changing winds and weather conditions, it is difficult to predict which areas of the county, if any, may be most affected by smoke from the burn. If you smell smoke, take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities. When you can smell smoke or when it is visible in your area, avoid strenuous outdoor activity and remain indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important to children, older adults, and those with heart and lung conditions. If you are sensitive to smoke, consider temporarily relocating and closing all doors and windows on the day of the burn. Symptoms of smoke exposure can include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest tightness or pain, nausea, and unusual fatigue or lightheadedness. Please use caution while driving near prescribed fire operations.

For more information regarding the county’s air quality, visit

To view a statewide prescribed burn map and other features, visit the Prescribed Fire Information Reporting System (PFIRS) website:

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Chip of SB Nov 19, 2022 12:25 PM
Bar M Prescribed Burn to Occur by end of January

A little smoke from a planned fire taking place under favorable conditions is way better than a lot of smoke from an unplanned fire burning in uncontrollable conditions. Our choice in how we manage wildlands in california is to conduct way more planned burns, or wait for the next next Thomas fire to burn it all at once. Planned burns are less intense, help support native vegetation, and help eradicate invasive plants and diseases. Planned fires also more closely replicate the frequent low intensity fires that occurred all over the US before the white man came and started putting them all out. Massive unplanned fires are the result of an unnatural buildup of vegetation caused by years of fire suppression efforts, aka the white man coming and meddling with nature. Massive fire events like the Thomas fire are extremely destructive and dangerous, and they also burn so intensely that it can take a long time for vegetation to grow back. With that said, I will happily embrace the smoke because it a natural and immutable feature of the western landscape that was here long before we were.

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