fire management

We and our partners used controlled burning to reduce non-native vegetation on a League-protected property.

A Look Inside a Prescribed Fire

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Save the Redwoods just led a team of researchers and land stewards from all over California to learn about using prescribed fire (controlled burning) on private lands. Take a peek behind the scenes to see how we use fire as a tool to reduce hazardous buildups of combustible vegetation and improve the health of our forests across League properties and the redwood range.

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A firefighter protects a park sign and supporting crews contain the fire within a narrow strip under an old growth canopy on the edge of the prairie.

Why is fire used to manage redwood forests?

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Fire is a natural part of the environment and benefits many forests. Prescribed fires have long been used to encourage growth of beneficial and native plant species and reduce the amount of combustible vegetation that could fuel catastrophic wildfires. Thousands of prescribed fires are carried out across the country every year, and they are integral to forest restoration and stewardship.

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Fire-suppressed sequoia grove – note the large fire scar on the giant sequoia on the right.

Managing for Fire

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Through thoughtful stewardship practices, the ways we seek to emulate aspects of the natural state of the forest can also work in conjunction with how we manage forestland into the future.

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Panorama of a prescribed fire at Boyes Prairie in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park. The three panels show immediately before, during, and after the fire.

Prescribed Fire and Coast Redwood Prairies

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During a brief burn window in October, crews from California State Parks and the National Park Service diligently worked to restore the natural process of fire to various ecosystems in over 2,800 acres of Redwood National and State Parks.

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Laura Lalemand and Lenya Quinn-Davidson on the fire line.

Lighting Up a New Path

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I had just arrived at the first ever Women-in-Fire Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (WTREX), and I was one of about 30 participants from around the world who would spend the next ten days learning about, sharing experiences in, and working on controlled burning, with a focus on supporting women in fire management positions.

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San Vicente Redwoods prescribed burn. Photo courtesy of Sempervirens Fund

Modern Fire Management and Ancient Land Stewardship Traditions

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After witnessing the many wildfires that occurred over the past summer, it’s hard not to think of them as extremely destructive. However, fires are misunderstood; they play an integral role in the unique ecosystems that California has to offer.

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Left, Cape Vizcaino in 1947, with meadows clearly visible. Right, the present view, with trees encroaching heavily.

Burning Cape Vizcaino

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The view from the picnic table was grand to be sure, the blue infinities of sea and sky meeting where the distant fog gathered offshore (and coastal fog, when you think about it, really is the perfect blend of the Continued

Native American Use of Fire

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In discussing fire, it is important to think about who managed the forests before us, and how that has influenced what the forests look like today. Many different Native American groups lived throughout the redwood region, each utilizing the natural Continued

One Way to Manage and Protect a Forest: Burn It

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Lately we have been thinking a lot about fire. It is fire season in California and sadly huge fires in the west are making headlines with their destructive activity. So, we’ve been discussing ways to decrease these devastating forest fires. Continued

Fire-suppressed sequoia grove – note the large fire scar on the giant sequoia on the right.

Setting Fire to the Forest

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We’ll do all the law’s allowin’/Tomorrow I’ll be right back plowin’/ settin’ the woods on fire —Hank Williams In a recent post, I discussed the role of natural disturbance in creating the forests we see today. This week, I’d like Continued