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Prescribed burn underway at historic Fort Ross

Local firefighters conducted a prescribed burn at Sonoma County’s Fort Ross State Historic Park Wednesday, an effort intended to root out invasive brush from the area, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marshall Turbeville said.

About 40 firefighters from several agencies, including the Timber Cove and North Sonoma Coast fire protection districts assisted with the burn, which began Wednesday morning on land south of the park between Highway 1 and the Pacific Ocean, Turbeville said.

Equipped with drip torches, the crews lit grass they intended to burn and soaked flames that crept beyond an invisible boundary. Plumes of white smoke blanketed the area.

“That flat area adjacent to the coastline ... historically has been more of a grass habitat and it’s being encroached upon by brush and other invasive species,” Turbeville said. “The land is not being managed.”

The group managed to burn about 50 acres of untamed land over a five-hour period. Their progress during the day means they’ll put off a second prescribed fire previously planned on Thursday and instead resume on Friday, weather permitting, Turbeville said.

Drivers in the area should slow down and keep their focus on the roadway ahead of them, he added.

You can reach Staff Writer Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or nashelly.chavez@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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