BLM to conduct prescribed fire at Lake Mathews Reserve

Fire Fighters conduct a prescribed burn at Lake Mathews. Photo by the BLM.

MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – Fire crews from the California Desert Interagency Fire Program will treat up to 80 acres of public lands with prescribed fire in the Lake Mathews-Estelle Mountain Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat Reserve in western Riverside County.

The prescribed fire will occur between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on a day when there are specific weather conditions that allow for safe and successful burning and smoke dispersion between now and Jan. 28, 2021. During the burn, smoke may be visible from the community of Lake Mathews and the cities of Corona, Perris, and Riverside as well as the 91 and 15 freeways.

“The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive,” said acting Palm Springs-South Coast Field Manager, Jeremiah Karuzas. “The prescribed fire is part of an ongoing effort to restore habitat for the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat.” 

Fire crews will use the prescribed fire to remove dead vegetation, which left untreated could feed and intensify a wildfire. The prescribed fire will also provide a training opportunity for firefighters to observe fire behavior and learn more about fire suppression techniques, such as line construction and hose lays.

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 also home to the endangered coastal California gnatcatcher and other sensitive species.

The California Desert Interagency Fire Program includes Bureau of Land Management 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 California Desert Fire Program.

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

For more information about wildfire prevention from the BLM, please contact the BLM California Desert District or a field office located near you.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office


Michelle Van Der Linden