Estero Prescribed Fire to Control Scotch Broom – 20 Years of Treatment Continues in Early October 2013
Contact: Jennifer Chapman, 415-464-5133
Fire management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore plan to burn 141 acres on N Ranch near Drakes Estero in early October, continuing an invasive plant eradication effort that has been using fire in combination with other techniques since 1993. Burning will take place on a single day during either the week of September 30 or October 7, based on weather conditions. Firefighters from the National Park Service and local fire agencies will conduct the burn from approximately 10 am to 3 pm, followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fire is completely out.
The goal of the Estero Prescribed Fire is to reduce the dead and down fuels leftover from previous broom treatments and to reduce the extensive seed bank which has accumulated over the years. Scotch broom produces abundant long lived seed which is viable for up to 35 years and poses an ongoing threat when left in the soil, even if the above ground plants are removed. Depending on heat intensity, the seed can be killed, or stimulated to germinate. New young plants are easy to remove by hand, unlike the large, mature shrubs. The Scotch broom infestation at Point Reyes National Seashore threatens both the quality of the rangeland in the pastoral zone and the native ecosystem, including 15 rare plant species and several animal species of concern. The overall project area is 575 acres in size, including 49 acres of solid broom, and the rest mixed with coastal scrub and annual grassland. The project is funded by the National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Program and Natural Resource Protection Program.
No road or trail closures are anticipated during the prescribed fire. However, drivers in this area should use extra caution if smoke is present. A map of the project area can be viewed on the park website at www.nps.gov/pore under Current Fire Information. To receive an email when the burn day is confirmed, contact the fire education office at 415-464-5133 or by email.
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