UPDATE - November 18, 2017 | VIDEO
On Saturday, November 18, 2017, the staff, volunteers and extended community of the Bouverie Preserve gathered to share their stories of the fire, learn about how the Preserve is recovering and celebrate the resilience of our many programs. View below or on VIEW ON VIMEO

 

Dear ACR Community,

UPDATE - 10/31/17: I want to tell you how heartened and grateful I am for the outpouring of support we've received from you since the catastrophic fires three weeks ago. Since that time, we've had the opportunity to survey the damage at Bouverie Preserve, thank our lucky stars that Modini Mayacamas Preserves escaped the flames, and maintain uninterrupted work at Martin Griffin Preserve and Cypress Grove Research Center. Your kind wishes and generous donations have played a key role in getting us through this time.

Our staff who lost their homes and possessions are slowly becoming resettled, and they are thankful for your many offers of assistance. We are hearing from our docents, friends, and donors who also lost so much, and we remain dedicated to helping you in any way we can.

Through everything, I am struck by the confluence of events that occurred at Bouverie. Just last spring, Dr. Sasha Berleman, director of ACR's Fire Ecology Project, conducted prescribed burns within the preserve to promote ecological benefits and reduce the ability for grassland to carry fire. Despite the widespread impact of the Nuns Fire, the efficacy of these controlled burns offered us powerful imagery in the days following. Illustrated by the photo below, those sites showed significantly less fire intensity than the surrounding landscape and helped moderate the fire's progression as it crossed Bouverie Preserve.

ACR is unique as the only northern San Francisco Bay Area conservation organization whose fire program is led by a doctorate-level fire ecologist. Over recent weeks, Dr. Berleman has been asked by local, national, and international press to talk about how and why these wildfires occur. She is consulting with a number of local agencies and conservation organizations to spearhead innovative regional solutions through an 'all hands - all lands' cooperative approach to addressing hazardous fuel loads and improving ecosystem health.

News from our mountain lion project, another program greatly impacted by the Nuns Fire, includes exciting sightings of an uncollared mama and her three kittens on the move as well as increased concern for the near-term survival of these big cats. Dr. Quinton Martins noted blackened paws on the kittens as well as on P5, our resident male. Are they black from walking through hot embers or cool ash? Will P5's ability to hunt be impacted or will his vast territory be diminished? We are anxious to restore program electronics and other equipment in order to track this young family's recovery.

Although Bouverie Preserve is strictly closed for the foreseeable future as we deal with health and safety issues such as removing burned structures and hazardous materials. You can keep up with us by checking our website and Facebook page for updates and photos.

As we work through the shock, sadness, and sense of loss, Dr. Berleman reminds us about Papaver californicum, the fire poppy. Often the first plant to emerge after a burn, this poppy is the symbol that our California landscapes rely on fire to be resilient. Together, we will all emerge like the fire poppy, better than before.

Again, thank you for your wonderful support. Your donations to our fire recovery fund are greatly appreciated.

In community,

John Petersen
Executive Director

Media coverage about the Nuns Fire fire on the Bouverie Preserve:
Bay Nature, 10/24/17: Ask a Naturalist: How Vulnerable Are Other Parts Of The Bay Area To Wildfires?

Bay Nature, 10/20/17: An Early Look at How the North Bay Fires Have Impacted Undeveloped Land in the Region

The Mercury News, 10/14/17: Wine Country Fires

Press Democrat, 10/13/17: Remembering Sonoma County's priceless landmarks

Eater SF, 10/13/17: Historic M.F.K. Fisher Last House rescued during wine country fires

Bay Nature 10/12/17: Open Space Managers Wait to Survey Losses

Sonoma Index-Tribune, 10/12/17: Sonoma Parks

San Francisco Chronicle, 10/12/17: M.F.K. Fisher's Last House still standing, thanks to fire ecologist

Eater SF, 10/11/17: The North Bay's Farms are Burning

RT America video interview with Fire Ecologist Sasha Berleman, 10/10/17 

   

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View of Bouverie Preserve post-Nuns Fire. Area on left was swept by fire but brought to an abrupt halt at the edge of a controlled burn conducted five months prior.