Firefighters and support crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection conducted a prescribed burn in San Benito County on Sept. 27. The burn took place on private property in the Gabilan Range, west of Paicines in the McPhails Peak area, according to CalFire.
“The purpose of the project is to reintroduce fire into the ecosystem, thereby reducing hazardous fire fuels by removing brush and downed woody debris, enhancing fire safety,” says a press release from CalFire announcing the burn operation earlier this week. Prescribed burns also provide “valuable hands-on training” for firefighters and other responders.
Staff at the Sept. 27 burn included a CalFire helicopter crew.
Authorities did not say how many acres were burned during the operation. Smoke was visible for many miles in all directions, according to social media users throughout San Benito, Santa Clara, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.