SLC Completes Successful Prescribed Burn in Dairy Field

SLC Completes Successful Prescribed Burn in Dairy Field

Conservancy and CSD staff set grasslands in the Dairy Field Burn unit ablaze on November 6th, 2022. Photo by Alix Soliman.

November 7, 2022

By Alix Soliman, Communications & Outreach Coordinator

On Sunday, November 6, the Santa Lucia Conservancy conducted a successful prescribed burn in Carmel Valley totaling approximately 19 acres with cooperation from the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association, the Santa Lucia Community Services District, Monterey County Regional Fire District, and CAL FIRE BEU.

The Dairy Field Burn was performed just off of Rancho San Carlos Road in a grassland that has been grazed twice since the Conservation Grazing Program began in 2013, due to its status as a functioning wetland.

CCPBA burn participants head northeast to lay flames down in line with the wind. Photo by Alix Soliman. 

“As this burn was conducted between employee housing and offices, we are happy to have the trust and partnership of The Santa Lucia Preserve community as we work together to improve the ecological health and safety of the region,” said Jamison Watts, Executive Director. 

A lack of disturbance in the burn unit led to a buildup of dead organic matter known as “thatch,” which increases fuel and can stifle new plant growth. Bringing prescribed fire to this site reduced the thatch layer, returned nutrients to the soil, encouraged native plants to flourish, and prepared the site for more expedient invasive plant removal in the spring. 

“We are thrilled to have conducted a second successful prescribed burn this year and hope that our burns encourage more widespread use of prescribed fire as a land management tool throughout the region,” said Jackson Brooke, Restoration Manager. 

CCPBA burn participants emerge from the smoke. Photo by Alix Soliman. 

The Santa Lucia Conservancy’s prescribed fire program is part of a larger strategy to establish resilient ecosystems on the 20,000-acre Santa Lucia Preserve and create a fire-permeable landscape that allows fire to move through at a lower intensity, benefiting native species without threatening life, property, or unique and valuable natural resources. This strategy includes conservation cattle grazing, goat grazing, invasive weed removal, shaded fuel breaks, maintaining strategic fuel breaks in partnership with CAL FIRE, and  lot-specific fuel management plans that go above and beyond establishing defensible space around homes. 

With over a decade of prescribed fire experience, the Conservancy is engaged in lowering the risk of catastrophic wildfire in Carmel Valley and helping restore fire-adapted ecosystems. 

Please reach out to Director of Ecological Management Dr. Rodrigo Sierra Corona at [email protected] or Restoration Manager Jackson Brooke at [email protected] for questions about prescribed fire and fuel management at the Conservancy.