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Controlled burn in northern Santa Barbara County

If you see a tall plume of smoke over the southern Santa Maria Valley today, it’s a controlled burn on private property and not a wildfire.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department is overseeing the one-day controlled burn on the privately-owned Righetti Ranch west of Highway 135.

The goal of the controlled burn is to reduce the risks of wildfire by burning overgrown brush and chaparral and improving rangeland for livestock.

Favorable weather and wind conditions led to the controlled burn.

Air quality in surrounding populated areas could be impacted by the controlled burn.

Anyone who smells smoke should limit outdoor activities.

Here is the complete news release about the controlled burn from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department:

Righetti Range Improvement Burn to Occur on November 1

WHAT: Prescribed burn of approximately 400 acres of mixed chaparral and coastal sage scrub

WHEN: Thursday, November 1. The burn is scheduled to begin at approximately 8 a.m. and conclude by 8 p.m. on a permissive burn day.

WHERE: Righetti Ranch south of Orcutt between Highways 101 and 135

WHY: The goal of this one-day burn is to improve rangeland and to reduce the risk of wildfire. Prescribed, or planned, fires typically burn less intensely than wildfires. The burn will be conducted when the meteorological conditions are highly favorable to direct smoke away from population centers.

WHO: This prescribed burn is planned and coordinated by the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County APCD, and the California Air Resources Board in order to minimize impacts on air quality on surrounding communities. Santa Barbara County APCD staff have reviewed the Smoke Management Plan and provided conditions to minimize smoke impacts in Santa Barbara County.

HEALTH PRECAUTIONS: 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. Use caution when driving near prescribed burns.

A portable air monitor has been set up in Los Alamos to monitor air quality conditions. Data will be available on the Air Pollution Control District’s website:

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