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Contact: John Golda, 415-464-5143
The Fire Management staff at Point Reyes National Seashore is planning several controlled burns to help improve habitat and protect the area from wildfire. Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, October 14, three areas within the park will be treated with prescribed fire. Fire fighters from the National Park Service and local fire agencies will work together to conduct controlled burns, followed by patrol and monitoring to ensure the fires are completely out.
The first area to be treated will be 122 acres on the Historic N Ranch near Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and the north-eastern side of Drakes Estero. This fire will begin on Wednesday, October 14. Then, during the week of October 19, two parcels along Highway One will be treated. A section of 80 acres near the McCurdy Trail and 35 acres near Dogtown will be subject to prescribed burns. Each of these projects could take two days to complete. These fires could be rescheduled if circumstances are too wet, dry or windy, or if the weather conditions will not provide good smoke dispersion.
These burns are part of a larger, on-going strategy to control the Scotch broom population and maintain open grasslands between large tracts of dense forest on the Bolinas Ridge and Inverness Ridge. A particularly invasive exotic plant, Scotch broom can form dense, scrubby populations and its seeds can remain viable for up to 35 years. At Point Reyes National Seashore, Scotch broom threatens the open grasslands of the Pastoral Zone, chokes out native plant communities, and impacts defensible corridors critical in fighting wildfires along Highway One. Used in conjunction with cutting and physical removal, fire is an important tool in reducing flammable biomass and reducing seeds that might remain dormant in the soil for decades.
While no road or trail closures anticipated during this work, there may be short delays along Highway One while the fire is in progress. Drivers and hikers should use extra caution if smoke is present. Short term smoke impacts are expected in the Olema Valley, and may also affect the San Geronimo Valley if winds are out of the southwest. Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to take actions to avoid or minimize exposure to smoke.