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Central California District
Release Date: 06/28/11
Contacts: Mike Chiodini , 831-630-5029  
News Release No. CC-11-70

BLM Announces Upcoming Prescribed Burn in Laguna Mountain, Clear Creek

The Bureau of Land Management plans to conduct a prescribed burn Thursday and Friday to reduce fire danger and control the spread of yellow starthistle, an invasive plant, on public lands in the Sweetwater and Clear Creek areas in southern San Benito County.

BLM Hollister Fire Management Officer Mario Marquez said approximately 50-75 acres of non-native yellow starthistle will be burned on two days if the weather conditions are right. 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 starthistle 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 starthistle 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 starthistle 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 Battalion Chief Mike Chiodini at (831) 630-5029.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Central California District   2800 Cottage Way      Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 06-29-2011