For Immediate Release: June 1, 2008
Contact: Mike Chiodini, (831) 630-5029
CA-CC-08-66

BLM Announces Upcoming Prescribed Burn in Laguna Mountain, Clear Creek

The Hollister Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management will be conducting a prescribed burn the week of June 9 to control the spread of yellow star thistle on public lands in the Laguna Mountain and Clear Creek areas in southern San Benito County.
 
“Approximately 60 acres of non-native yellow star thistle is scheduled to be burned on several days if the right weather conditions exist,” said Mike Chiodini, BLM fire mitigation specialist in the Hollister Office.
 
The prescribed fire will be conducted safely when the wind speeds are low and the weather is within the target ranges (fire prescription).  If the weather creates unfavorable conditions, the burn will be terminated and re-scheduled. The goal is to deplete yellow star thistle seeds by burning the area in consecutive years and combining other integrated management techniques. Benefits of the prescribed burn include: reduction of hazardous fuels, healthier wildlife habitat, improved firefighter and landowner safety from destructive wildland fires, he said.
 
Yellow star thistle is native to Eurasia and was introduced to California around 1850. The presence of yellow star thistle in the Laguna Mountain area was discovered approximately 16 years ago and has increased in density, displacing native plants and animal species. Recent reports indicate that the invasive plant occupies between 10 and 15 million acres in California. The invasion throughout the western United States has been associated with the transport of seeds on the under carriages of vehicles. It is critical to remove the star thistle population before it spreads throughout the entire management area.
 
Yellow star thistle is also poisonous to horses, causing a nervous disorder called “chewing disease” (migropallidal encephalomalacia), which is fatal once symptoms develop. Horses are the only animal known to be affected in this manner and should not be allowed to graze on the plant.
 
For further information on the prescribed burn, contact Chiodini at (831) 630-5029.
 
 
-BLM-
 
Hollister Field Office, 20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, CA 95023
Visit our website: www.ca.blm.gov/hollister