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Prescribed Burns Delayed

Source: Denise Louie, Research and Resource Management Chief

Pinnacles National Monument's plan to burn 150 acres along the newly acquired bottomlands has been delayed because wildfire activity in the Central Coast and Northern California is pulling much needed fire resources from throughout the state. "While we have all put large amounts of effort to make this rx [prescribed] burn happen, We can not meet the holding and contingency personnel and equipment needed to accomplish the burn safely or within the context of the burn plan" stated Roger Wong, Fire Management Officer from Point Reyes National Seashore. "The fire management team agrees that burning the Bottomlands later in June or even early July is still within our window of opportunity to effectively control the Yellow Star Thistle population" explained Denise Louie, Pinnacles Research and Resource Management Chief. Once this wildfire activity relaxes, and fire fighters and equipment return home and can be recommitted to the burn, it will be rescheduled.

"Safety is the foremost objective in all fire management activities" stated Eric Brunnemann, Superintendent, Pinnacles National Monument. Prescribed fire is only conducted when the windspeed is low and the air is not too dry. Weather readings will be taken every hour or more during the burn. If an unforcasted weather event creates unfavorable conditions, the burn will be shut down. Extra firefighters and engines must also be on hand as an added precaution.

The lands recently added to the east side of Pinnacles National Monument include a large infestation of non-native yellow star-thistle. About 12 million acres in California are invaded with this aggressive weed. Three consecutive years of burning, in combination with other integrated plant management techniques, can effectively control yellow star-thistle. Prescribed fire can treat large areas quickly. Burning at the right time of year will greatly reduce the number of seeds that the plants will be able to produce. Fire also recycles nutrients back into the soil, and burns off dead mulch which stimulates the growth of native plants such as lupine, California poppies and perennial grasses. Prescribed burning is just one of the weed control techniques described in the "Integrated Tools to Address Degraded Lands Environmental Assessment" which will be released early this summer.

To receive an email when the burn day is confirmed, contact the park at 831-389-4486 x222 or General park information can be obtained by visiting

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