September 30, 2003
Contact: John Dell’Osso
Prescribed fire is used at Point Reyes National Seashore to reduce hazardous fuels, control invasive plants, enhance biological diversity, and preserve cultural landscapes. An informational brochure on the park’s prescribed fire program was mailed to all box holders in West Marin last week. The burns here are typically very small and rarely exceed a few hundred acres in total. All burns are conducted under safe prescriptions and approved in advance through the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Some of the burns that will be conducted during the month of October are outlined as follows:
- Drakes Beach Area – The objective here is to contain and reduce the populations of non-native grasses and annual plants on D Ranch near Drakes Beach. After the 65-acre plot is burned, it will be re-seeded with California brome, a hearty native grass found on site. This burn will also help perpetuate the historic landscape.
- Drakes Estero Area – Again, the main objective is to reduce the population of non-native Scotch broom on the McDonald (307-acres) and Home (41-acres) Ranches. A combination of mowing and burning will be used here which has proven to be successful in reducing large populations of Scotch broom in the Estero over the past several years. This burn will serve as a basis to determine the effectiveness of using fire to control Scotch broom.
- Olema Valley Area – In addition to reducing the population of non-native French broom along the Highway One corridor, this burn will reduce hazardous fuels and create a strategic fuel break. This 9.1-acre burn adjacent to Highway One will assist in reducing fuels in a busy traffic corridor where the chance of vehicle-related ignition is high. This burn will serve as a basis for fire effects monitoring to determine the effectiveness of using fire to control broom and other non-native annuals.
The first burn is planned for the week of October 6, 2003 near Drakes Beach. As in the past, National Park Service staff will receive assistance from numerous partners including Marin County Fire Department, Inverness, Nicasio, and Stinson Beach Volunteer Fire Departments, Bolinas Fire Protection District, Marin Municipal Water District, and others.