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June 1, 2023

Seasons change as Cal Fire completes controlled burn

Crews from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) completed a prescribed burn operation in northern San Benito County last week in an effort to reduce fuel for potential wildfires as the region continues to dry out from the soggy winter, according to authorities. 

The controlled burn took place May 8-12 in the San Juan Canyon area. The purpose of the project was to remove excess vegetation along the San Juan Shaded Fuel Break, Cal Fire said in a press release. Battalion Chief Josh Silveira said crews burned piles of vegetation that had been previously gathered. 

“We were trying to preserve the fuel break,” Silveira said. 

Even though California and the Central Coast region are nearing the end of a wetter than normal rainy season that brought floods, water damage and earth slides to San Benito County, Cal Fire is already preparing for the upcoming wildfire season. 

So far in 2023, Cal Fire has responded to 788 wildfires that have burned 804 acres throughout California, according to Cal Fire’s website. In 2022, crews responded to 7,490 wildfires that burned more than 362,000 acres. 

Residents and property owners are urged to begin preparing for wildfire conditions by clearing their defensible space and “hardening” their homes by using fire-resistant building materials, says the Cal Fire website. It is also advised to create a plan to evacuate your home and move your family, pets and important supplies to safety. 

For more information and resources about how to prepare for wildfires, visit

Cal Fire firefighters tend a May 9 controlled burn along the San Juan Shaded Fuel Break. Photo: Chris Mora
A Cal Fire firefighter tends a fuel pile blaze on May 9 during a controlled burn along the San Juan Shaded Fuel Break. Photo: Chris Mora
Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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