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).





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 …





Palo Alto oaks, pines, and redwoods thriving after fire mimicry

23 06 2022

Yesterday I checked on several coast live oaks, ponderosa pines, a coast redwood, and a southern magnolia in Palo Alto, CA that I’ve treated with fire mimicry in recent years. The work began at one site about 14 years ago and at the other site 6 years ago. The photos at the 14-year site were taken at different seasons (winter vs. summer), so they are not an optimal comparison. Also, there was considerable construction around the trees and some limb removal since the original photos were taken. Still, it appears that these trees are thriving after fire mimicry treatments. Enjoy!

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Two years of fire mimicry on coast live oaks in Salinas, CA

31 05 2022

Today I inspected a grove of coast live oaks that have received fire mimicry treatments for the past two years. The results generally show improvement in canopy density and lushness, with the exception of one oak (photo below) that made a remarkable recovery last year, but ended up succumbing this year to stress and disease. Note the last photo set of this post showing the canopy of a nearby untreated oak for comparison.

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Ancestor oaks show modest improvement after 2 years of fire mimicry protocol

23 05 2022

For the past two years I have been applying fire mimicry treatments to a grove of Ancestor oaks, ancient (300+ yr old) trees that have been pollarded and otherwise tended in the past by the Ohlone People for acorn production and other uses. Today, I inspected these oaks and see that most have made a modest, but noticeable improvement in canopy density, despite the current drought conditions. Please note the final photo set, which shows a neighboring oak that was not treated.

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Images from the Spring 2022 Fire Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon

16 05 2022
Opening circle

This past weekend Sudden Oak Life, EcoCamp Coyote, and Indian Canyon Nation joined efforts to choreograph the second FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop. This hands on 3-day event was attended by over 30 enthusiastic participants who took a deep dive into the ecology of fire and the practice of fire mimicry in the context of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Our host and teacher of Indigenous knowledge was Kanyon Sayers-Roods (Mutsun Ohlone). Here are various images from the workshop. If you missed this event, please come to our Fall 2022 FIre Mimicry and TEK workshop at Indian Canyon in November.

An Ancestor oak at Indian Canyon treated with fire mimicry at the workshop
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Happy Earth Day 2022 from Big Sur, CA

22 04 2022