A prescribed burn association is a landowner co-op where neighbors help neighbors burn. Much like a branding day or a barn-raising, getting good fire on your land is easier when you have help. Check out upcoming events and sign up for newsletters!
Dry winter weather has one upside: it can be a great time to burn! Even though some days are too windy, people are finding lots of great windows when the air is calm and the humidity is perfect. If you want helpers on your burn, contact our Prescribed Burn Association coordinator and we'll find folks to help you out!
Air Quality: If you're burning on your own land, above 1000', and less than 10 acres at a time, the Air Quality District doesn't issue you a permit. As far as they're concerned, you're good to go: Just make sure it's a permissive burn day first by calling 332-9407. If you are burning more than 10 acres or you're burning any acreage below 1000', you do need a smoke management plan.
CAL FIRE: Between the end of declared fire season and May 1st, CAL FIRE does not require, or issue, a permit for home prescribed burning (California Public Resources Code 4423). However, you can still call your local CAL FIRE station to let them know you're hoping to get some burning done. More than likely, they'll come out to your property to give you tips on safe burning. That visit is free and a great way to get to know your local firefighters.
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!