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Posts Tagged: Kestrel Grevatt

New El Dorado/Amador Prescribed Burn Association conducts first private landowner burns

The new El Dorado/Amador Prescribed Burn association, formed in August 2021, has conducted several burns with private landowners and received funding for a part-time coordinator.

After igniting low-intensity strip along control line, a volunteer walks adjacent to small flame lengths monitoring fire behavior. May 2022. Photo by Susie Kocher

A new group of local residents dedicated to helping private landowners conduct prescribed burns on their own properties has formed in El Dorado and Amador Counties. The group was convened by Susie Kocher, forestry advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in the Central Sierra.

“Prescribed Burn Associations, or PBAs, are groups of landowners helping each other to both learn how to use prescribed fire to manage their properties and to help each other carry it out. They have been common in other states in the Midwest and Southeast United States, but are relatively new to California,” said Kocher. The first PBA was formed in Humboldt County and now there are at least 20 in various stages of development throughout the state.

New El Dorado/Amador PBA holds first burns

To date, the local group has held workshops on prescribed burn use, planning and integration with targeted grazing for fuels reduction. The group held their first broadcast burn on May 15, 2022, at LBS Ranch in Placerville. Due to rain in April, the group was able to take advantage of the tail end of the spring burning window. The event served as an educational opportunity for members to get more live fire experience and discuss the planning and implementation process.

Smoke lingers amongst oaks and conifers while pockets of fuel continue to smolder after ignitions. Photo by Susie Kocher

Those who attended were landowners, volunteer fire department members, foresters and community members with varying degrees of experience. Together they reduced fuels and resprouting shrubs by burning an acre of forested land that had previously been thinned and masticated. Fire behavior and effects occurred as planned, with low flame lengths and good consumption of live and dead vegetation.

Newly appointed coordinator Kestrel leads volunteer from local fire department during ignitions on spring prescribed burn. May 2022. Photo by Susie Kocher.

Funding received for part-time coordinator

In April, the University of California Cooperative Extension was awarded funding through a Regional Forest and Fire Capacity subaward from the Watershed Research and Training Center, by a grant awarded by the California Department of Conservation to hire a part-time PBA coordinator. A total of nine PBAs across the state received subawards to fund leadership, peer mentorship, training and travel. The El Dorado/Amador PBA was awarded funding for a half-time coordinator for the next two years. The new coordinator, Kestrel Grevatt, is based at UC Berkeley's Blodgett Forest Research Station and will be splitting her time between the PBA and her role as intern forester at Blodgett. She has a background in fire suppression, prescribed burning and implementing and overseeing fuels reduction work.

Looking forward, the group is planning a burn plan writing workshop for August. This workshop will be intended to help landowners understand the prescribed fire planning process, necessary burn plan components and help them walk away at the end of the day with a drafted burn plan. Attendees will have the opportunity to download and create maps, plan burn units, discuss permits needed and smoke considerations, and write a weather/fuels prescription, all with guidance from PBA leaders and agency representatives. Through the fall and winter, the group's priorities will be to implement burns and make local and regional training opportunities available to members.

 “The overall goal of the group is to give community members the support to safely and effectively put good fire on the ground. By starting small, with a few acres at a time, members can learn how to use this tool and develop comfort with fire as a process. Over time, with many landowners' involvement, we can continue to increase the pace and scale of prescribed fire,” said Grevatt.

For more information, please contact Kestrel Grevatt kestrelgrevatt@berkeley.edu.

The work upon which this publication is based was funded in whole or in part through a Regional Forest and Fire Capacity subaward from the Watershed Research and Training Center, by a grant awarded by the California Department of Conservation. The El Dorado / Amador PBA is also supported by UC ANR.

Low fire intensity with smoldering in larger material met desired burn effects. May 2022. Photo by Susie Kocher

 

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2022 at 6:24 PM
Focus Area Tags: Environment

New videos demonstrate techniques and tools to survey forestland trees

Forestland owners can learn how to survey the trees on their property from four new videos produced by UC Cooperative Extension, setting them on a course for sustainable management of their forestland. The videos are available on the UC ANR YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/UCANR).

Learning the tools and techniques used for centuries by professional foresters and research scientists allows private forest owners to collect data that paints a picture of the land and trees' current condition.

“Whether it's managing to reduce wildfire, control invasive species, protect the nature beauty or maximize timber harvest, you need to know what you have so you can select the right actions to achieve your goals,” said Kimberly Ingram, UC Cooperative Extension forest stewardship education academic coordinator.

A compass is one of the tools professional foresters use to establish plots when collecting data about a forest.

While about two-thirds of California's 33 million acres of forests are public lands held by state and federal government agencies, the rest is in private hands. In 2019, with funds from CAL FIRE, UCCE launched a program to reach out to the 87,000 private landowners who manage portions of California's forests.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, three-day field workshops were offered to groups of forest owners to help them develop a plan to improve and protect their forestlands in an ecologically and economically sustainable manner. Because of the pandemic, alternative approaches are being used, including video training, online workshops and limited outdoor field days in locations where social distancing is feasible.

“We're using the flipped classroom method,” Ingram said. “The learner reads and watches videos beforehand and then, when they come to the online classroom and field day sessions, we're delving into real-world examples.”

Kestrel Grevatt, a member of the Grizzly Corps, an AmeriCorps program developed by UC Berkeley that addresses community needs related to climate change, was enlisted to create videos that demonstrate forest measurement practices.

The videos are for landowners who participate in the workshop series and for other forest owners who wish to begin collecting data on their own.

Susie Kocher, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra Cooperative Extension office, narrates and conducts demonstrations in each of the videos. They cover the following topics:

Tree measurement tools
Learn the basics of forest inventory and what measurements you need to quantitatively represent your forest. It covers the usage of a diameter tape, Spencer logger's tape and Biltmore stick (or CA tree stick).

Using a clinometer to measure tree height
A clinometer is a simple tool which can be used to measure heights. In this video, you will learn how to use a clinometer to accurately measure tree height as part of a forest inventory.

Plot establishment tools
Learn how to use a compass, reel fiberglass tape and cruise vest to establish plots. The video covers how to think about your own inventory system and what you will want to take with you when you head into the woods.

Plot layout and inventory system
Learn what it looks like to collect plot data. This video includes a review of plot layout, the measurements and observations to note, and how sample data can represent your entire forest.

Three more forest stewardship workshops have been scheduled:

Feb. 2 - April 13, tribal-focused stewardship workshop: Online and at the Big Sandy Rancheria. Registration now open.

March 22 - May 27, online and in Humboldt County. Registration now open.

April 21 - June 16, online and in San Bernardino County. Registration opening soon.

Workshop registration is $60. Breakfast and lunches are provided for in-person field days. Register at http://ucanr.edu/forestryworskhopregistration.

For more information on forest management and forest stewardship workshops visit the Forest Research and Outreach website at http://ucanr.edu/forestry

Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 10:52 AM
Focus Area Tags: Natural Resources

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