BLM to conduct prescribed burn at Lake Mathews Reserve for teaching, fuels reduction, ecology


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

California Desert District Office

Media Contact:

Michelle Van Der Linden
BLM fire crews conducting a prescribed burn in tall grass.

Moreno Valley, Calif. – Fire crews from the California Desert Interagency Fire Program will treat up to 60 acres of public lands with prescribed fire in the Lake Mathews-Estelle Mountain Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat Reserve in western Riverside County. During the burn, smoke may be visible from the community of Lake Mathews and the cities of Corona, Perris, and Riverside, as well as State Route 91 and Interstate 15 freeways.

The prescribed fire is scheduled to occur daily between Tuesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 20, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., when specific weather conditions allow for safe, successful burning and adequate smoke dispersion conditions are present.

In addition to reducing hazardous fuels, decreasing the threat of wildfire to local communities, and improving the ecological health of the landscape, the prescribed burn will provide a learning opportunity for students in the Wildland Fire Origin and Cause Determination course as part of their training to become wildland fire investigators. Fire crews will ignite fires in small plots for students to investigate and determine the origin and cause, allowing students to practice their fire investigation techniques. The prescribed fire will be extinguished by the end of each day.

The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive and prescribed fire is part of an ongoing restoration effort. The Reserve encompasses approximately 15,000 acres and is cooperatively managed by the BLM, the Riverside County Habitat Conservation Agency, the El Sobrante Landfill, and the Metropolitan Water District. In addition to the Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat, the Reserve is home to the endangered coastal California gnatcatcher and several additional sensitive species.

The California Desert Interagency Fire Program includes BLM and National Park Service firefighting resources that cover Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park and BLM’s California Desert District. As an interagency unit, fire personnel share responsibilities and equipment to effectively manage the program.

Additional information is available by contacting BLM fuels specialist James Gannon at 951-697-5307.

For more BLM information regarding wildfire prevention, contact: California Desert District Office 951-697-5200; Barstow Field Office, 760-252-6000; El Centro Field Office, 760-337-4400; Needles Field Office, 760-326-7000; Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office, 760-833-7100; or Ridgecrest Field Office, 760- 384-5400.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.