For Immediate Release: 11/1/2022

Prescribed Fire Operations Planned at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz County

Tim Hyland
Senior Environmental Scientist

Gabe McKenna
Public Safety Superintendent


SANTA CRUZ,Calif.–California State Parks today announced prescribed burns for Wilder Ranch State Park starting tomorrow and continuing through Sunday, December 13. Some trails will be closed temporarily to ensure public safety, including portions of the Englesmann Loop, Eucalyptus Loop, Old Cabin and Long Meadow Trail.

This burn is part of the prescribed fire program for vegetation management, hazardous fuel load reduction, wildlife habitat improvement, and other ecological benefits.The treatment will enhance the health of the forest by removing duff, leaf litter and fuel buildup and restore essential nutrients to the soil and reduce the chance of wildfires.

State Parks will burn roughly 300 acres of a variety of forest habitats at Wilder Ranch State Park. The ignitions are scheduled to occur between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monitoring and patrol will continue through the following week and weekend. All burning will depend on weather and air quality conditions that are favorable for smoke dispersal. If the conditions are not conducive for burning, the burns will be rescheduled.

This prescribed burn is permitted, planned and coordinated with the Monterey Bay Air Quality Management District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in order to minimize the smoke impacts to surrounding communities.

Prescribed burns produce significantly less smoke than wildfire. People around the Monterey Bay area as well as those driving on Highway 1 may see smoke on the day of the burns. If you see or smell smoke in your surroundings, Santa Cruz County officials recommend avoiding strenuous outdoor activity and remaining indoors as much as possible. These precautions are especially important for children, the elderly and people with respiratory and heart conditions.

Personnel participating in the project will adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines to minimize exposure to and the spread of COVID-19. State Parks is adhering to the safety protocols set by public health officials and have made accommodations to limit exposure among first responders and field crews to protect staff from COVID-19 during prescribed burns.

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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.