Prescribed Burns

During both wildfire suppression actions and prescribed burns, the protection of human life and property will be given the highest priority. The planning of prescribed burns combines considerations from fire ecology, fire suppression, and public safety. Before a burn on any Preserve lands is to take place, Preserve managers will be in contact with owners of property adjacent to the Preserve, to address local concerns and help owners prepare for the upcoming action.

Burn plans for a specific site would typically be developed months in advance of the burn. Fuels preparation during the summer months preceding Fall burns would involve creating fire breaks. There might also be clearing around trees to keep them from being killed by the fire. Arranging for the availability of fire fighting personnel and equipment is a critical part of planning. For projects at the Preserve there will be a presence of personnel from both local fire districts and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Bureau of Land Management. Plans would also include coordination with local officials to work out any temporary impacts to critical issues, such as transportation and air quality. The timing of the
Cameron Park fuels reduction - pile burning
burn would be scheduled to minimize smoke impacts to local residents and businesses. The first burns may be small "demonstration" areas. Monitoring of the rare plant species after the burn will be part of all burn projects.

On the day the burn is scheduled, a "go/no-go checklist" is used to decide if a prescribed burn can be safely and effectively conducted. If the necessary conditions are not optimal, especially weather conditions including temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, the burn will be postponed until conditions "come into prescription".

Once the burn is completed, agency personnel will stay with the site as long as required to watch for flare-up. Even though the treated site may appear charred and lifeless, this would only be a temporary condition. The following spring, many shrubs resprout and wildflowers bloom, often in unusual abundance.

The prioritization of fuel treatment actions would include an evaluation of fire risk and fire hazards in the area. Fire risks take into account those factors that put human life and property at risk. These risks can range from sources of ignition like spark-producing equipment to the presence of homes and businesses in close proximity to flammable vegetation. Fire hazards are those factors that determine how a fire would burn, including available flammable materials, topography, and environmental conditions.

All actions that are undertaken by the Pine Hill Preserve Management Group would be subject to review by all member agencies with fire-related responsibilities. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and/or the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will apply to these projects as well

In addition, coordination with local entities such as local fire departments, local transportation authorities, and fire safe councils, will provide an important link to the local community in any fuels management activity.