Upcoming Event: “Restoring Fire Safe Communities” Nov. 11-13, 2022 at Indian Canyon

2 10 2022

The “Restoring Fire Safe Communities” workshop at Indian Canyon next month (Nov. 11-13) is shaping up to be a stellar event. Along with my teachings on fire mimicry, our host Kanyon Sayers-Roods will be sharing some of her Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Cultural Competency. Tom Little Bear Nason, Esselen Tribal Elder, will be speaking on his experiences of the challenges and successes in managing his traditional lands here in Big Sur. All the while EcoCamp Coyote will be providing vegan meals and other logistics in environmentally-conscious ways.

Event details are here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/restoring-fire-safe-communities-tickets-358816077547

Hope to see you there!

More ladder fuel removal from an oak grove in Carmel Valley

26 09 2022

Here’s a time-lapse video of the fire mimicry work we did today in Carmel Valley. Enjoy!

Removing ladder fuels from an ancient oak grove

21 09 2022

Yesterday our crew of fire mimicry practitioners began treatment of an ancient oak grove in Carmel Valley, CA. The videos here show the results of clearing ladder fuels to help prevent a healthy ground fire from becoming a destructive canopy fire. The video below was cut short by an unfriendly encounter with a wasp nest, an ever-present menace along with all the poison oak.

Restoration of oak woodland and native bunchgrass prairie in California’s central coast

17 09 2022

The latest efforts here at Sudden Oak Life have involved the restoration of about 20 acres of oak woodland and native prairie habitat in the Central Coast. I have pulled together a strong team of workers who are well trained in the principles and practices of fire mimicry.

On one particular hillside young coast live oaks have been invading an adjacent prairie of native bunchgrasses dominated by California fescue. Coastal prairie is one of the most endangered ecosystems in California due to fire suppression and conversion to agricultural uses. In places, the oak trees have shaded out and all but replaced the native prairie species. Our work here focused on removing many of the woody shrubs and young oaks along the prairie margin, and thinning and pruning oaks in nearby woodlands that still support substantial bunchgrass cover. Efforts were made to preserved many of the native understory species including toyon, currant, sage, and mountain mahogany. All the removed oaks were less than 6″ in diameter, per county regulations.

Young coast live oak invading native bunchgrass prairie, marked for removal
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How to prepare a grove of ancient oaks for cultural burning

10 08 2022

Here are several time-lapse videos from today showing our efforts to prepare a grove of ancient coast live oaks for reintroduction of cultural fire via fire mimicry. Notice that our focus is on removing ladder fuels in ensure that any cultural fires remain on the ground (good fire), rather than spreading into the canopies (bad fire).

An oak grove in Carmel Valley tended today with fire mimicry …

4 08 2022

Another Wednesday at Carmel Valley doing fire mimicry …

3 08 2022

Here are a couple of videos of fire mimicry work we did today in Carmel Valley. Notice how we cleared the ladder fuels around the oaks, to help ensure that they survive and even prosper after a ground fire (good fire), rather than be killed by a canopy destructive fire (bad fire). Many thanks to my fine and hard-working crew!

Carmel Valley fire mimicry phase 1 – clearing, thinning, and pruning

2 08 2022

These time lapse videos are of the fire mimicry work done with my coworkers over the past two days. Note how we are careful to remove the ladder fuels, so that any fires are more likely to stay on the ground (good fire), rather than spread into the canopy (bad fire). Enjoy!

More time-lapse videos of fire mimicry phase 1 – clearing, thinning, and pruning

29 07 2022

Today we applied fire mimicry treatments to several Ancestor oaks in Monterey, CA. These time-lapse videos show phase 1 were we clear the woody understory, thin the young trees, and prune the lower branches to improve the health of the oaks and remove the ladder fuels to prevent a ground fire from spreading into the canopy. Tomorrow we will implement phase 2 – Compost tea, soil minerals, and limewash. Just three of us working today, but we felt into the forces of fire and got a hella lot done! Please take the time to view these videos. To me they feel cathartic.

Time-lapse video of fire mimicry phase one – clearing, thinning, and pruning

28 07 2022

Today my dedicated crew and I implemented phase one of the fire mimicry protocol (clearing, thinning, and pruning) on an old-growth oak grove near Watsonville, CA. Below is a time lapse video of our work this morning. Notice the moment I lost my hearing aid and had to scrabble on the ground to find it …