Antelope Fire, Highway 46 SLO Co.

Just as I was going to transition from fire watch to weather watch mode, a new fire broke out along Highway 46 in SLO Co. It is near the Kern County line. As of 4:15 pm, it was reported as 300 acres and 15% contained. The forward rate has been slowed. Containment is expected by about 1 am tomorrow. NOAA has issued a frost warning for tonight in parts of the inland valleys, so that should help.

Lesson learned. It’s not over quite yet.

Controlled burn

By now, most of you in Big Sur already know about the controlled burn at Andrew Molera, but just in case you missed it, here is the announcement:

Andrew Molera State Park Prescribed Burn 10/2010

What: California State Parks is planning to conduct a prescribed burn in Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur.

When: Burning will occur when enough rain has fallen that the majority of the vegetation within drainages surrounding the burn plots will not carry fire, but grasslands and coyote brush will burn at a low to moderate intensity. Assuming weather conditions are favorable, this will occur sometime during the last week of October or the first week of November.

Why: We are burning for the second year in this project area in order to manage for native grasslands (Coastal Prairie) that exist within Andrew Molera State Park. This very diverse plant community is rare in California and has been largely replaced by European annual grassland, coastal scrub and chaparral. Our intent is to slow the growth of coyote brush and non-native grasses in parts of northeastern and southwestern Andrew Molera State Park (see map), where healthy stands of Coastal Prairie exist.

Who: This prescribed burn will be conducted by the California State Parks Central Coast Prescribed Burn Team. This crew has extensive prescribed burning experience in parks throughout the central and northern California Coast. Support will also be provided by at least one of the following agencies: Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Big Sur Fire Brigade and North Tree Fire.

Where: The 350 acre project site is divided into 12 burn plots, which will be burned separately (see map). This year we hope to burn Plot 1 and the northern part of Plot 2 on the west side of Hwy 1. These flat plots are 23 and 8 acres respectively. Portions of Plot 1 will be re-planted/seeded with purple needle grass and California oat grass one or two winters after the burn. We tried to burn these plots last year, but were not able to get the correct meteorological, environmental and logistical conditions.

More information: A Cal Fire Burning Permit, a Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District Smoke Management Permit, and a Coastal Development Permit have been issued for this project. In addition, a Mitigated Negative Declaration, a Biological Survey Report and several plant and animal surveys have been completed. A copy of the plan, permits and maps can be found at the Big Sur Station Visitor Center. If you have questions or comments, please call Jeff Frey at 667-0148.
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Weather reports are indicating more rain on Thursday night and Sunday. I’ll be keeping an eye on that. Hopefully, I’ll be posting a couple NZ photos tomorrow for your viewing pleasure.