Large Controlled Fire East of Ukiah
Controlled burn in the hills east of Ukiah. (Photo provided by a reader.)
Cal Fire Press Release:
On Monday February 24, at 12:00 p.m. the CAL FIRE – Mendocino Unit will be conducting a vegetation management control burn in the Mill Creek watershed east of Ukiah. Burning is planned for Monday and Tuesday, February 24 and 25, weather and air quality conditions permitting.
The prescribed burning being done under this Vegetation Management Program (VMP) project will be conducted under specific climatic conditions to ensure control and minimize air quality and other impacts. The primary goal of this prescribed burn is to reintroduce fire as a natural element of the ecosystem. A second goal is to improve wildlife habitat by inducing new shoots from sprouting species to increase forage production, with islands of unburned fuel left within the burned area to provide shelter for small mammals. A third goal is to reduce overall vegetation in order to decrease the chance of catastrophic wildfires in the future.
“In light of the current drought conditions, this prescribed fire will also provide a training opportunity for firefighters to practice putting out fire with tactics that don’t include the use of water,” said Christopher Rowney, CAL FIRE’s Mendocino Unit Chief.
Historically, areas covered in brush experience a fire every 15 to 20 years. Portions of the project site have not had a fire burn through for over 25 years, allowing the brush to become extremely thick and overgrown. This has greatly reduced the ability of wildlife to move through the area and has reduced the flow of waters from creeks and springs.
The VMP program and other vital fire prevention and resource management programs received a nearly $12 million boost in funding in the 2013-2014 budget from the state’s fire prevention fee.
To ensure visitor safety, the BLM will close the Valley View Trail and North Cow Mountain access road beginning Monday, February 24. The closure will remain in place during burning operations and possibly longer if forecast heavy rains occur.