Information provided by Bureau of Land Management, Central Coast Field Office
The Bureau of Land Management announced plans to burn invasive yellow star thistle on roughly 20 acres of Bureau-managed public lands along Coalinga Road near the entrance of the Clear Creek Management Area south of Hollister, in San Benito County. The prescribed burn is scheduled to start June 2, if weather and air quality conditions allow.
According to the release, the purpose of the burn is to reduce available fuel that could feed wildland fires near campgrounds, protect the threatened San Benito evening primrose and eliminate non-native yellow star thistle. The Central Coast Field Office received a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help pay for the prescribed burn as reducing noxious weeds helps rejuvenate native grasses, which could improve habitat for elk and other species. There are three elk subspecies in California including Tule elk which are found in the Clear Creek Management Area.
The Bureau uses an integrated weed management strategy, which includes herbicide application, sheep and goat grazing, and prescribed fire, to kill invasive weeds like medusa head and yellow star thistle plants before they have a chance to set seed. Prescribed fire helps restore balance to the ecosystem.
The release said the Bureau of Land Management is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. The exact timing of the prescribed burn will depend on temperature, wind and relative humidity, and is being conducted in close coordination with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District. Smoke may be visible to nearby rural landowners. Updated information will be provided on Bureau of Land Management California social media sites using #RxBurn.
Permit holders will still be granted access to the Clear Creek Management Area during burn operations. For more information, please call the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200.