News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 05/28/2013
Subject :

Prescribed Burn Planned for Arastradero Preserve on Thursday, May 30
Contact : Chris Woodard, Battalion Chief    650-329-2615
Palo Alto, CA – On Thursday, May 30, the Palo Alto Fire Department with assistance from other City of Palo Alto Departments, CalFire and other Santa Clara County fire departments has scheduled two prescribed burns in the Enid W. Pearson Arastradero Preserve. Both burns will be between seven and nine acres and are being conducted to help mitigate any potential fires. 

Prescribed burns are one of the most effective tools for restoring healthy ecosystems and meeting desired resource outcomes, while avoiding the environmental damage that can be caused by an unplanned wildland fire. This type of managed fire is used to reduce wildfire risks and benefit natural resources by thinning overgrown vegetation. A prescribed fire is only allowed under specific conditions, depending upon available resources, time of year, weather and desired results. It is a mitigation effort used to prevent fires like the Oakland Hills Fire of 1991 or the Liddecoat Fire of 1984. This burn was a recommendation made by an outside expert through the Foothills Fire Management Plan that was approved by the City Council in 2009.

In addition, the resources that are secured for the fire need to be available and not otherwise occupied by emergency response. If everything proceeds as anticipated, the burns will be conducted beginning at approximately 9 AM.  

Commuters and residents should anticipate a smoke column blowing over Highway 280 during the event. There is no need to evacuate the area; however, Palo Alto Fire Department recommends that people stay indoors and avoid the area from Alpine Road to Page Mill Road and Highway 280 to Skyline Boulevard on Thursday. As required, the City has submitted a smoke abatement plan and is conducting the burn at a time that will minimize the effects of the smoke to the area. The smoke is expected to dissipate quickly as the fuel should burn fast and as clean as possible at this time of year.

For more information about prescribed burns in general visit To learn more about this prescribed burn, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) sheet, visit or call the City of Palo Alto Fire Department at 650-444-6271.