Monday-Friday
6A        Morning Edition
9A        Music
3P        Fresh Air
4P        All Things Considered
6:30P  The Daily

7P        Eclectic After Dark
banner101 3

photo credit: Courtesy the FIGR
Facing persistent catastrophic wildfire risk, landowners and government agencies are using controlled burns to mitigate that risk. Sonoma County property owners looking to use prescriptive fire can turn to the Good Fire Alliance. That’s the prescribed burn association which helps organize controlled burns in Sonoma and Marin counties.
Prescriptive fire has a long history in the steep hills and foggy valleys of our region. According to Graton Rancheria Chairman Greg Sarris, the Coast Miwok peoples of Marin County and Southern Pomo of Sonoma County, who comprise the Rancheria membership, used fire to benefit the ecosystem.
 
"We've had thousands upon thousands of years of practice doing that. And we did controlled burning in the foothills. We had the large Oak Savannahs in the valley, and we always burned below and around the trees." Sarris said. "But the Ash also was a fertilizer, which the trees were so dependent upon."

But as Sarris said, when colonists showed up, they had different views.
 
"One of the laws that the Spanish imposed on us was a law against burning and not burning was one of the major factors that changed the landscape of this area. It allowed, for instance, the growth of the annuals." Sarris said. "There was no such thing as these golden hills that we know today."
 
The altering of the landscape and prohibition on prescribed fire contributed to the wildfire prone landscapes across Sonoma County and the state today.
 
"So what you've done is you by not taking care of the land, you've created a tinderbox." Sarris said.
 
Sarris said the Rancheria focuses much of its effort on indigenous environmental stewardship.
 
"We created a precedent setting co-management agreement of Tolay Regional Park and just about four months ago with Point Reyes National Seashore." Sarris said. "And in both places, we hope to begin doing these practices of burning under the trees, burning the pieces of the landscape to burn back the brush and to restore the landscape as much as possible. And of course it can never go back to what it was."
  • SoCo Calendar
  • Latest News
  • Right Now
  • Weather
  • Earthquakes
  • First News
 
 
Read More
 
thumbnail FirstNews logoA weekday early morning podcast that offers a first look at the top local news stories and weather forecast you need to start your day.

Sonoma County news stories featuring the latest in breaking news, county government, elections, environment, cultural happenings, and updates on your communities, from Petaluma to Cloverdale, and from Sonoma to Bodega Bay, and everyplace in between.

Subscribe to the Sonoma County First News podcast through our website, the NorCal Mobile App, NPR Podcasts, NPR One, iTunes/Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

 
Read More

Northern California
Public Media Newsletter

Get the latest updates on programs and events.