Prescribed burn set for June 11 in southeast San Benito County

The Bureau of Land Management Central Coast Field Office plans to burn roughly 30 aces of noxious grass and brush outside the entrance to the Clear Creek Management Area, approximately 60 miles south of Hollister, starting Tuesday, June 11.

The BLM will conduct the prescribed burn—depending on weather and air quality conditions—in partnership with CAL FIRE. The prescribed burn will help reduce fuel available for wildland fire by eliminating invasive yellow star thistle, which in California can grow to shoulder height and form massive, briar patches, according to a BLM statement.

The Central Coast Field Office received a grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to help pay for the prescribed burn as reducing noxious weeds helps rejuvenate native grasses, which may improve habitat for elk. There are three elk species in California: Rocky Mountain, Roosevelt and Tule elk. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation works to protect crucial elk winter and summer ranges, migration corridors, calving grounds and other areas vital to elk and other wildlife.

The BLM uses an Integrated Weed Management Strategy, which includes herbicide application, sheep and goat grazing, and prescribed fire to kill invasive weeds like Medusa head and yellow starthistle plants, before they have a chance to set seed. Prescribed fire helps restore balance to the ecosystem.

The BLM is committed to keeping public landscapes healthy and productive. The exact timing of the prescribed burn will depend on temperature, wind and relative humidity, and is being conducted in close coordination with the Monterey Bay Air Resources District. Smoke may be visible to nearby rural landowners. Updated information will be provided on BLM California social media sites using #RxBurn.

Permit holders will still be granted access to the Clear Creek Management Area. For more information, please call the Central Coast Field Office at 831-582-2200.

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