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Controlled Burns Scheduled in Area

March 15, 2000|TONY LYSTRA

Fire crews are burning clusters of brush in the Thousand Oaks area this week in an effort to reduce the potential for wildfires, authorities said.

The controlled burns, located between Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village near the Kevington housing tract, will help prevent wildfires from raging through the area by eliminating brush most likely to go up in flames, said Sandi Wells, Ventura County Fire Department spokeswoman.

Removing the debris, which consists of mostly dead vegetation, creates a buffer zone between open space and nearby homes, she said.

"If a wildfire does occur, it won't be right on top of the homes and it will give the firefighters a chance to make a stand against the brush fire," Wells said.

Starting Tuesday, 35 firefighters from the Ventura County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry gathered brush into piles along a 1 1/2-mile stretch and burned it. Weather permitting, crews will continue burning today and Thursday, Wells said.

Crews will extinguish the piles in the afternoon, she said, then patrol the area to ensure that the burns don't get out of control. Nearby residents can expect to see smoke from the smoldering piles, she said.

In April and May, crews will return to the area to conduct more controlled burns, Wells said.

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