Sometimes you’ve got to fight fire with a planned fire. Wildfires can be devastating, but prescribed burns — such as the monitored fire Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve last Friday — remove excess flammable vegetation, manage invasive plants, and revitalize native plant communities.
The Sonoma Ecology Center coordinated the June 4 event. The SEC’s Richard Dale lit the torch at about 9 a.m. as crews, guided by burn boss Phil Dye, monitored the slow-moving flames.
About 11 acres were burned, in two segments, with a control line mowed around the entire area. Watch the drone video.
Firefighters, fire-suppression trained volunteers, and engines moved ahead of the burn, wetting down the edges of the burn area, while more stayed behind the flames to ensure the fire stayed within the targeted area. Plumes of brown and light grey smoke rose over southwest Sonoma Valley until midday, and crews patrolled the burn area for several more hours to assure the fire was completely out.
Since 2004, Sonoma Ecology Center has worked with the owners of the Van Hoosear Wildflower Preserve to co-manage the wildflower meadows and grasslands, oak woodlands, and riparian habitats of the 162-acre property.
The prescribed burn was organized and prepared by Sonoma Ecology Center with support from ACR’s Fire Forward team and conducted by volunteer community members of the Good Fire Alliance with leadership from Phil Dye of Prometheus Fire Consulting.
The Mayacamas Volunteer Fire Department, Sonoma Valley Fire District, Santa Clara County Parks Department, and Cazadero Fire Department also sent crews and engines in support of this effort.
Photos by Kristen Russell