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Some Thoughts on How the Proposed Burn Permit Fees Would Impact the Fire Safe Council

posted Jul 8, 2014, 11:54 AM by Joe Christy
 Our pile burns are considered prescribed burns, and the Air District does come out and look at the areas where we plan to burn ahead of time. When we burn in a new area, we need to file a new Smoke Management Plan, which we renew for as long as our funding holds out or as long as it takes to finish the burns, which ever comes first. Our next project along the Warrenella will probably require a $200 fee for the first year and $150 the second.
BUT, the projected El Nino appears less likely with each passing day, cf. http://www.weatherwest.com/archives/1594 and http://theweathercentre.blogspot.com/2014/07/el-nino-in-serious-trouble-upcoming.html. Were the climate pattern of the last few winters to repeat itself, we would have to re-think the amount of pile burning we could do.
That, in turn, places us squarely on the horns of a dilemma. The San Vicente Redwoods, where our Warrenella project lies, are in large part conservation and restoration lands. Since the forest and chaparral there are fire ecologies, restoration and conservation would ideally involve reintroducing low-intensity fires. Moreover, since the fire science literature is unclear about what vegetation management techniques work best in those ecologies, our grant involves doing a mixture of pile burning, lop-and-scatter, and mastication in order to contribute to understanding what the best technique will be going forward. In other words, from an ecological standpoint, prescribed burns are preferable, and we need to do the experiments to determine where they should stand in the array of vegetation management techniques available.
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