A prescribed burn association is a landowner co-op where neighbors help neighbors burn. Getting good fire on your land is easier when you have help. Check out upcoming events and sign up for newsletters!
We will get through this COVID era together, and on the other side there will still be all the good things fire can bring us. I'm looking forward to sweet smoke, rich soil, neighborhood good times, soaproot in bloom, and gorgeous open vistas of this place we call home. What are you looking forward to?
BURN PERMITS NOW REQUIRED.... Here's how to get them
As of May 1st, you need a CAL FIRE permit to light a fire on your property. Here are the rules:
FOR PILE BURNS, 4'x4' or less:
In unincorporated Butte County, get your free, automatic permit here: https://burnpermit.fire.ca.gov/
In Paradise, Oroville, Biggs, Gridley, Chico spehere of influence, etc: See the final page of this press release to find out where to apply for your burn permit.
You won't need an Air Quality permit for these small pile burns, but you do need to check first to make sure it is a permissive residential burn day by calling (530) 332-9407.
No matter where you live, burn those piles as soon as you can: Paradise will close the burning season May 31, and the rest of the county is likely to go under a burn ban June 30 (if not before). And be careful!
FOR LARGER PILE BURNS: Maybe you have slash on your land from a logging operation? You can burn it, but (now that it's after May 1st) only with an LE-5 permit from CAL FIRE.
Step 1: Call the Air Quality (AQ) district at 332-9400 to get a timber harvest burn permit. Expect slower-than-usual service while the COVID-19 shutdown persists. Please be patient and plan ahead.
Step 2: Call your local CAL FIRE office to get an LE-5 permit. They like you to have the AQ permit first. They will likely schedule an inspection and secify certain equipment you must have on hand before you burn. If you don't know or can't find your local station, call the countywide prevention bureau at (530) 538-7888 and ask how to get an LE-5.
FOR BROADCAST BURNS: Now that it's after May 1st, it's illegal to broadcast-burn without a permit until fire season ends. If you're a homeowner, CAL FIRE is, frankly, unlikely to issue you a permit for a broadcast burn now. But if you're a rancher and you have access to some specialized equipment (dozer and blade, water truck, that kind of thing) you may be able to get a permit, called an LE-5.
Step 1: Call the Air Quality (AQ) district at 332-9400 to get an ag burn permit. Expect slower-than-usual service while the COVID-19 shutdown persists. Please be patient and plan ahead.
Step 2: Call your local CAL FIRE station (they're open, despite Coronavirus). They will give you more information and let you know what they'd need in order to be comfortable with you burning. If you don't know or can't find your local station, call the countywide prevention bureau at (530) 538-7888 and ask how to get an LE-5.
Step 3: Before you burn, call 332-9406 to make sure it's an *ag* burn day. Ag burn days can be slightly different than a *residential* burn day.
Jan 18th, Pile Burning Get-Together in Concow, 12735 Concow Rd. We had a fun get-together for folks interested in working together to apply prescribed fire on their lands. Rob and Clara Barber live right on Concow Lake, and their forest got a good underburn during the Camp Fire. They are interested in managing their forest with fire going forward. We discussed how challenging it can be to catch a burn window on a property that rarely dries out during winter. Dry winter windows are the traditional time to burn in Concow.
Jan 6-10 was Biochar week, organized by Steve Feher of Butte College and Yankee Hill Fire Safe Council, among others. Many local folks benefitted from these great demos. To see the biochar process, check out our photo albums on Facebook.
We had a great first meeting on Saturday, Dec. 14. We met at a Forest Ranch neighbor's land and walked a potential burn unit, learning to see the natural firebreaks that define unit boundaries, and discussing how we would reinforce those firelines and how we would burn the unit. With the help of several local burn experts, we learned some of the signs that tell us it's the right time to burn (or too soon) and we discussed how many people would be needed to burn the unit. We all sharpened our "fire eyes" considerably!
The day before, on Friday, Dec. 13th, many of us attended a great workshop on burning private lands held at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER). The workshop was put on by UC Extension and funded by a CAL FIRE grant. We heard from local landowner Dulcy Schroeder about her journey toward good fire. We heard from Will Harling of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council about how his community reclaimed fire and became the burningest place in California. Butte PBA coordinator Wolfy Rougle explained why she's fired up about PBAs, Don Hankins explained the importancee of traditional (cultural) burning, and Tracy Schohr spoke of the value of fire to ranchers. Gus Boston of CAL FIRE described his commitment to implementing landscape-scale prescribed fire across Butte County. Speakers from the Air Quality Management District and CAL FIRE explained when you need apermit to burn your own lands -- and when you don't. Several speakers discussed fire as a tool for eradicating invasives, and as we walked the BCCER lands we saw amazing native grass savannahs that had once been thick star thistle -- reclaimed by good fire.
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More about prescribed fire....
Burning your own lands is legal and it has many benefits for your livestock, for wildlife habitat, and for your family's safety. It's your right as a landowner. The RCD is here to make it easier for you. Because if more people in Butte County knew how to burn their lands and did it regularly, we'd all be safer and better off.
What a PBA can do for you
- Help you figure out what permits you need and how to get them
- Serve as neighborhood hub for tips and tricks
- Offer a trailer full of burn tools and gear you can borrow
- Offer training opportunities suited to your needs, whether it's the basics or an elite course.
- Have a schedule of work parties, tours, and workshops
- Connect you with neighbors who can help you burn (and do the prep work) -- Many hands make light work!
What a PBA can't do A PBA doesn't take away your liability. That always rests with the landowner -- as it should, since the landowner is the one getting the biggest benefit from the burn. A PBA is also not a full-service burn outfit: the landowner still needs to hire a burn boss if they want one. However, we're just getting started, and who knows what we'll come up with together in the future to make burning easier and safer in our communities!