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Smoke billows over Cuesta


Controlled burn smolders in the presence of arson investigators and firemen.
Photo by Lindsay Darbyshire

By Lindsay Darbyshire
News Editor

Dark plumes of smoke loomed over Cuesta’s SLO campus on March 6 at around 5 p.m. as the wind pushed the billows from the south side of campus behind the library to the east, adjacent to the freeway and toward the hills.

The smoke was a product of a controlled burn taking place at nearby Camp San Luis Obispo, Cal Fire officials said.

The burn was apart of an exercise used to train arson investigators, according to Cal Fire Capt. Monte Phelps, of Station 12. Camp SLO donated abandoned buildings on the property so that trainees could perform a full investigation of the burned structures.

“[The controlled burn] gives them an opportunity… to see actual fire behavior,” Phelps said.

In addition to Cal Fire, the Cambria Fire Department and the California Men’s Colony also participated in the training.