- Education and Training: extension, technical assistance, workshop
- Natural Resources/Environment: wildlife
Prescribed fire is well recognized as a cost-effective and uniquely beneficial land management tool, with
utility for range management, ecological restoration, fuels reduction, wildlife habitat enhancement, and
more. In California, most prescribed burning happens on federal lands, and private lands burning is
largely planned and overseen by CAL FIRE through their Vegetation Management Program (VMP). After
decades of decline, the VMP is now expanding, and CAL FIRE has made major investments in new staff in
order to meet their statewide prescribed fire goals. This rapid expansion of the VMP, and increasing
interest and demand from landowners, has created a training need within CAL FIRE that cannot be met
by existing federal fire coursework or via internal agency expertise. Other agencies and organizations
that work with private landowners are encountering similar challenges: there is significant and growing
demand for prescribed fire among agricultural producers, but the agencies lack the expertise and
professional development opportunities to advise landowners and develop prescribed fire plans that
meet their resource management objectives. For this project, we developed a series of educational videos on conducting prescribed burns in California’s diverse ecosystems, geared toward professionals within CAL FIRE, the Natural Resources Conservation
Service, Cooperative Extension, and other agencies and organizations that work with and advise
agricultural producers on prescribed fire-related efforts. The module was modeled after and
include components of the federal RX-310 course (Introduction to Fire Effects), but was
abbreviated to increase opportunities for participation, and targeted specifically toward issues and
topics on private lands.
Through this project, we hoped to build capacity for resource management-driven prescribed fire on private lands in California. Specifically, we planed to: 1) record a series of very targeted webinars (minimum of 10) on specific uses of prescribed fire, given by experts who know the topics well; 2) compile a series of concise fact sheets that reflect the content of the webinars, which will later be made publicly available as a UCANR 8000 Series publication.
- In collaboration with the target agencies (CAL FIRE, NRCS, and Cooperative Extension), we identified topics for web-based fire effects modules focused on the utility of prescribed fire for range improvement and other private lands management priorities. These modules would focus on burn planning, including identifying burn objectives, developing prescribed fire prescriptions, and evaluating effectiveness of control on target plant species.
- Recruit an experienced cadre to lead the modules in partnership with the principal investigators. Cadre members would have expertise in range management, fuels management, and fire behavior, and have familiarity with programs and policies that enable prescribed fire on private lands.
Use this project as a pilot to explore future opportunities and models of training on these topics.