Prescribed Fire Specialist Jared Childress and Fire Ecologist Brian Peterson accompanied Burn Boss Phil Dye on a prescribed burn of 27 acres of cattail marshland in the Panoche Valley Preserve, southeast of Hollister in early February.

The burn helps create a mosaic of habitat structure for Tricolored Blackbirds, listed as a candidate for California Endangered Species. By removing the dense stand of cattails and other plant thatch, new growth habitat preferred by Tricolors will establish itself in about 14 months.

Describing the nearly 20-40' flame lengths seen in photos of the burn, Jared explained, "It can seem that cattails burn like a tire fire, but this marsh is surrounded by a high bluff and thousands of acres of green grass, making for safe conditions."

Panoche Valley Preserve plans to burn a portion of the 100-acre Panoche Creek Marsh annually.

The collaborative burn included members from the Santa Lucia Conservancy several Cal Fire departments and Cal Fire fire stations, the Monterey County RCD, as well as Tricolor Blackbird expert Bob Meese from UC Davis. We were very pleased to take part in this effort.

Learn more about the work of The Center for Natural Lands Management: https://www.cnlm.org/portfolio_page/panoche-valley-preserve/
Learn more about Tricolored Blackbirds: https://ca.audubon.org/birds-0/tricolored-blackbirds