USA — The smoky haze that rolled in and blanketed parts of Lassen County the weekend of Oct. 22 was the main topic of discussion at the regular meeting of the Lassen County Air Pollution Control District Governing Board on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
After a long discussion at the district’s last meeting in November with representatives from several forest services, agencies and the Bureau of Land Management, the board began looking at possible improvements for the county’s smoke management plan.
Locally it is well known prescribed burning programs play an important roll in improving forest health and protecting communities from the threat of catastrophic fire.
In order to keep the smoke from controlled burns manageable and keep a handle on all fires burning in the area at one time agencies and individuals must first file a smoke management plan with the county.
The plan describes all aspects of the burn including, for example, what is being burned, the amount of acreage to be burned at one time, the estimated length of burn time, ideal weather conditions, potentially hazardous conditions, areas and towns potentially affected and actions to be taken in the case of adverse smoke impacts in sensitive areas.
However, when the smoky haze covered Susanville as a result of multiple prescribed burn projects on the Plumas and neighboring national forests, agricultural burning in the Sacramento Valley and winds that were lighter than forecasted, the APCD decided to make the smoke management plan more informative for the districts and flexible for burningagencies.