BLM plans fall prescribed burning projects in North Coast region

Prescribed burns help keep public landscapes healthy, productive, and reduce the wildfire risk for nearby communities

Fire management specialists with the Bureau of Land Management burn piles of brush and small trees near the community of Petrolia in southern Humboldt County. Photo by the BLM.

ARCATA, Calif. – The Bureau of Land Management is planning prescribed burning projects for the fall and winter months on public lands in Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Crews will ignite the pile burns and broadcast burns only when weather and fuel conditions allow for safe and successful burning and smoke dispersion. Smoke may be visible from nearby communities.

Projects such as these are part of the BLM’s fuels management program across the West that conducts a wide variety of active management vegetation treatments using mechanical, biological, and chemical tools, and prescribed fire. The program includes creating fuel breaks to protect resources and provide safe access for firefighters, reducing fuel loads by removing trees, shrubs, invasive species, reducing fire risk near communities and infrastructure and using herbicide plus seeding to restore rangelands and break the fire-cheatgrass cycle. 

“These carefully managed, low intensity fires are designed to reduce wildfire danger by removing fuels, and to improve forest health and promote diverse grassland ecology,” said Tom Bickauskas, acting manager of the BLM Arcata Field Office. “Prescribed burning is an important part of our work to manage public lands for sustainability.”

Prescribed fire operations up to 100 acres are planned for areas along Prosper Ridge Road northeast of Shelter Cove in the King Range National Conservation Area. Crews will burn machine-built piles created to remove overstocked conifers encroaching on coastal grasslands. This continues the prairie restoration work done in partnership between the BLM and the Mattole Restoration Council.

Also in Humboldt County, crews plan to complete prairie restoration burning in the Lacks Creek Forest restoration project about 15 miles northwest of Arcata. The fire will improve 60 acres of prairie grasslands ecosystem, improving wildlife forage and habitat. Crews will also burn piles of brush, limbs and other vegetation in a 200-acre area following fuels reduction and forest management work.

Crews will also work on pile burning projects to reduce hazardous fuels along recreational trail corridors and high public use areas in Humboldt and Mendocino counties. Project areas include the Lost Coast Headlands west of Ferndale, locations within King Range National Conservation Area, and the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit at Humboldt Bay. Workers will remove fire and storm-damaged vegetation and woody debris along the trails and make burn piles of brush and small trees removed during the work. The projects will reduce fuels that could contribute to wildfires.

For Fiscal Year 2021, the BLM in California funded 55 fuels projects and 62 community assistance activities. The BLM treated nearly 26,000 acres across the state to reduce hazardous fuels, modify wildfire behavior, create fire resilient landscapes, and protect communities and critical infrastructure.

Additional information is available from the BLM Arcata Field Office at 707-825-2300 and the BLM King Range Project Office, 707-986-5400.

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’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. 

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Bureau of Land Management


Arcata Field Office


Jeff Fontana