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Central California District
Release Date: 06/08/10
Contacts: Mike Chiodini , 831-630-5029  
News Release No. CC-10-77

BLM Announces Upcoming Prescribed Burn in Laguna Mountain, Clear Creek

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be conducting a prescribed burn the week of June 14 to reduce fire danger and control the spread of yellow star thistle, an invasive plant, on public lands in the Laguna Mountain and Clear Creek areas in southern San Benito County.

BLM Hollister Field Manager Rick Cooper said approximately 140 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 when the wind speeds are low and the weather is within the target ranges.   If the weather creates unfavorable conditions, the burn will be terminated and re-scheduled, he said.

The goal is to deplete yellow star thistle seeds by burning the area in consecutive years, in combination with other management techniques. Benefits of the prescribed burn include reduction of hazardous fuels, healthier wildlife habitat, and improved safety of firefighters and landowners from destructive wildland fires.

Yellow star thistle is native to Eurasia and was introduced to California around 1850. Recent reports indicate that the invasive plant occupies between 10 and 15 million acres in California. 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.  Yellow star thistle is also poisonous to horses, causing a fatal nervous disorder called “chewing disease." Horses are the only animal known to be affected in this manner and should not be allowed to graze on the plant.

Further information can be obtained from the BLM's Hollister Field Office Fire Mitigation Specialist Mike Chiodini at (831) 630-5029.


Central California District   20 Hamilton Court, Hollister, CA 95023  

Last updated: 06-08-2010