BLM Logo
Central California District
Release Date: 06/08/09
Contacts: Mike Chiodini , 831=630-5029  
News Release No. CA-CC-09-69

BLM Announces Upcoming Prescribed Burn in Southern San Benito County

The Hollister Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be conducting a prescribed burn the week of June 15, 2009 to control the spread of yellow star thistle on public lands in the Clear Creek and Laguna Mt. areas of southern San Benito County.

Approximately thirty-fifty acres of non-native yellow star thistle is scheduled to be burned on several days if the right weather conditions exist. The prescribed fire will be conducted safely when the wind speeds are low and the weather is within the prescribed target ranges. 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.

Yellow star thistle is native to Eurasia and was introduced to California around 1850. The presence of yellow star thistle in the Laguna Mountain/Clear Creek 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 areas.

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 the Bureau of Land Management Hollister Field Office Fire Mitigation Specialist Mike Chiodini at (831) 630-5029.


Central California District   5152 Hillsdale Circle, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762  

Last updated: 06-24-2009