SAN DIEGO -- Plumes of smoke will be visible over the East County highlands Tuesday and Wednesday as state firefighting crews conduct controlled burns at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, officials said.

The prescribed fires near Paso Picacho Campground are part of a reforestation project designed to help restore a natural forest ecosystem following the catastrophic 2003 Cedar Fire, which denuded 95 percent of the almost 25,000-acre park, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said.

The blazes will return valuable nutrients to the soil and inhibit the growth of aggressive chaparral that can limit the growth of newly planted trees.

During the burns, smoke "will be visible from many locations in the county and will carry into the night,'' Mohler said.