California State Parks is planning to ignite roughly 150 burn piles at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park beginning Thursday, March 3 and continuing into the weekend. Temporary closures may occur on Graham Hill Road between Sims Road and Lockewood Lane as needed due to visibility being inhibited by smoke.

The burn piles are part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel load reduction, wildlife habitat improvement and other ecological benefits. This treatment will enhance the health of the forest and aid in reducing the chance of a catastrophic wildfire.

The burns are scheduled between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. starting on Thursday, March 3, and continuing through Sunday, March 6. Proactive monitoring and patrol will continue at Henry Cowell through the week and weekend.

These burn piles are permitted, planned and coordinated with the Monterey Bay Air Quality Management District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in order to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities. All burning depends on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not conducive for burning, the burns will be rescheduled.

People around the Santa Cruz Mountains area as well as those driving on Graham Hill Road may see smoke on the day of the burns. In the unlikely event you smell smoke, Santa Cruz County officials urge you to take precautions and use common sense to reduce any harmful health effects by limiting outdoor activities.

Burn piles produce significantly less smoke than wildfire. If you see or smell smoke in your surroundings, officials recommend avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and remaining indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important for children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions. Please use extreme caution while driving near burn pile operations due to fire personnel and equipment in the area.

Personnel participating in the project will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines to minimize exposure to and the spread of COVID-19. California State Parks is adhering to the safety protocols set by public health officials and have made accommodations to limit exposure among first responders and field crews to protect staff from COVID-19 during prescribed burns.

For additional information and updates, please visit our Santa Cruz Fire Management Facebook page.