BLM plans prescribed burn in southern SBC

 

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.
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 630-5029.

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