This article was contributed by UC Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor Devii Rao.
UC Cooperative Extension is considering applying for a Cal Fire grant to increase our capacity to develop a Prescribed Burn Association and do more education around fire prevention and prescribed burning in San Benito and Monterey counties. The organization will move forward on the grant proposal if there is enough interest from local ranchers, landowners and land managers.
If you would like to see more prescribed fire on the ground, please join us on June 5 and 6 for a prescribed fire workshop to show your support. June 5 will be at the Hollister Vets Building and will focus on burn plans, burn unit preparation, permitting, fire safety, fire ecology, how to develop a Prescribed Burn Association, and much more. On June 6, workshop participants will have the opportunity to participate in a live-fire training in Bitterwater (weather permitting). See attached flyer for more workshop details.
The Prescribed Burn Association (PBA) model is similar to the old Range Improvement Associations, only more inclusive of a broader array of burn objectives and community members. PBAs in California might include burning for range improvement, in addition to forest fuels reduction, invasive species control, habitat restoration, cultural resources, and more. PBA members include ranchers, forestland owners, local nonprofits, volunteer fire departments, and other interested community members. The idea is that PBA members get together to help plan and implement prescribed burns on each other’s properties. It’s sort of like a branding. Everyone has a different level of experience, but there’s a job for everyone to do, no matter your age or ability. And the job can only get done if a large group is committed and people share resources with each other.
Historically, local Range Improvement Association members conducted a substantial amount of prescribed burning in San Benito and Monterey counties. So, we already have people with a lot of experience and expertise who can share their knowledge to help us build a new PBA and train the next generation.
If you have any questions about the workshop or prescribed fire, please contact Devii Rao at (831) 637-5346 x14 or [email protected].