The Orion

Cal Fire starts controlled burns after recent rains

California+Conservations+Corps+members+burned+vegetation+on+Doe+Mill+Road+near+Butte+Creek.+Image+courtesy+of+Rick+Carhart%2C+Information+Officer+for+CAL+Fire.
California Conservations Corps members burned vegetation on Doe Mill Road near Butte Creek. Image courtesy of Rick Carhart, Information Officer for CAL Fire.

California Conservations Corps members burned vegetation on Doe Mill Road near Butte Creek. Image courtesy of Rick Carhart, Information Officer for CAL Fire.

California Conservations Corps members burned vegetation on Doe Mill Road near Butte Creek. Image courtesy of Rick Carhart, Information Officer for CAL Fire.

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Cal Fire plans to clear out and burn hundreds of acres of underbrush in Butte County, and oversaw controlled burns in the forest canyons between Magalia and Forest Ranch Wednesday.

Rick Carhart, Public Information Officer for Cal Fire said the burns were just a small part of many “fuel reduction projects” the agency has planned.

During these projects, Cal Fire―sometimes in cooperation with other agencies like the California Conservation Corps―firefighters go out and clear up heavily overgrown areas and gather the vegetation to either burn or run through a wood chipper to mulch.

California Conservation Corps member lifts wood from fire burning near Butte Creek. Image courtesy of Rick Carhart, Information Officer for CAL Fire.

Reducing the overgrowth not only reduces risk for future fires, it also “makes a healthier forest,” Carhart said.

“When it gets (this) thick with brush under the trees, then there’s no new trees,” he said, because their seeds can’t reach the ground. Burning the taller brush that reaches into the branches of a tree―or “ladderfuels” as firefighters call them―which can allow fire to climb it and burn the more vulnerable canopy, also helps to protect the trees against future fires.

Cal Fire plans to use controlled burns as long as weather permits, but it’s all a balancing act, said Carhart. Overly dry areas pose risks of a fire getting out of control, and recent rains, he said, have allowed some areas to be burned more safely.

“The more it keeps raining, the longer time we’ll have,” he said.

 

Controlled fire

A controlled burn of vegetation on Doe Mill Road near Butte Creek. Image courtesy of Rick Carhart, Information Officer for CAL Fire.

 

Josh Cozine can be reached at [email protected] or @joshcozine on Twitter.

 

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Cal Fire starts controlled burns after recent rains