Sonoma County Regional Parks and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit have begun burning brush piles at Shiloh Ranch Regional Park in southeast Windsor.
The pile burn is the first of several to be conducted in the park this month and possibly into the spring, depending on permissive burn days. The burning is the result of a collaboration among Regional Parks, the Mayacama Golf Club homeowners’ association and CAL FIRE. The organizations began working together last year to create a fire break along a wooded boundary the park shares with the Mayacama homeowners.
CAL FIRE crews and engines will be on site to conduct the burning between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in a remote area not accessible to the public. The park will remain open during the burning operations.
Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, located 1.5 miles west of Highway 101 at Shiloh and Faught roads, burned extensively in the 2017 Tubbs fire. Anticipating neighbors and motorists might see or smell smoke from the burn piles, officials want to assure the public they are not witnessing an emergency.
“This is a routine yet important project,” said CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Sam Lazarich. “Brush clearing and burning help protect our communities from future fires by creating strategic fuel breaks.”
The Shiloh-Mayacama project is a shaded fuel break where “ladder fuels” (vegetation between the ground and the tree tops) have been removed. With these fuels removed, the intensity of a wildland fire is reduced and the fire is more likely to stay on the ground, giving firefighters a better chance to control it.
Burning vegetation is the most cost-effective way to reduce fire fuels, explained Regional Parks Deputy Director Melanie Parker. “While smoke can seem alarming, we know that some smoke in midst of winter helps us reduce the chances of much more smoke in the heat of the summer,” Parker said. “It’s important for the public to know that these projects make us safer.”
Pile burns will become a more frequent practice as Regional Parks expands its vegetation-management program.
For more information about Regional Parks’ natural resources management, visit SonomaCountyParks.org.
For more information about fire safety and CAL FIRE programs, visit www.fire.ca.gov.