Quick Take:

Happening through Friday if weather conditions cooperate, the burns are expected to restore essential nutrients to the soil and reduce the chances of wildfires at Wilder Ranch and Año Nuevo state parks.

If the air quality dips and the air gets hazy this week, there’s no need to worry about a wildfire.

From Tuesday through Friday, California State Parks will be conducting prescribed burns in Wilder Ranch and Año Nuevo state parks. More prescribed burns could take place throughout October. The areas to be burned include 300 acres of forest and grassland at Wilder Ranch and about 145 acres of coastal prairie habitat along the ocean side of Highway 1.

All of the burns will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but whether the burns actually occur depends on if weather and air quality conditions — wind and the estimated height to which a column of smoke would rise — are favorable for smoke dispersal. If not, the burns will be rescheduled, UC Santa Cruz wrote in an email to its campus community.

The burns are necessary for a variety of reasons, including vegetation management, fuel-load reduction and wildlife habitat improvement. The burns are expected to restore nutrients to the soil and reduce the chance of wildfires.

Have something to say? Lookout welcomes letters to the editor, within our policies, from readers. Guidelines here.

Max Chun is the general-assignment correspondent at Lookout Santa Cruz. Max’s position has pulled him in many different directions, seeing him cover development, COVID, the opioid crisis, labor, courts...