Controlled Burns Aim To Reforest San Diego's Mountains
The Cedar Fire blackened 10,000 acres in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in 2003. Now, the California Department of Parks and Recreation is setting fires there to try to bring back the forest.
Last week a parks department crew did a controlled burn to help remove an abundance of underbrush, and make way to plant native conifer seedlings that will replace the forest that was lost to wildfire.
"Our reforestation project identifies the areas that used to be forested and we're replanting about a quarter of the 10,000 acres that we lost," said Lisa Gonzales-Kramer, an environmental specialist with the parks department.
She said the forest needs occasional fires to eliminate the brush that builds up on the forest floor, which can result in destructive blazes like the Cedar Fire.
"What we found is that decades of fire suppression practices just allowed too much fuel to build up on the forest floor," she said.
The parks department expects to burn more acres of low-lying brush at least once more this winter.