Each year, California’s wildfire season requires additional resources due to climate change and increasing populations in fire-prone areas. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) academics develop and disseminate fire resources and information. Notably, they engage with partners across the state to offer education on prescribed burns and form Prescribed Burn Associations (PBAs) in communities that are learning to “live with fire.” Prescribed burns are informed by Indigenous knowledge on using fire as a tool for land management and are recognized as one of the most versatile and cost-effective tools for stakeholders such as land managers, private ranchers, tribes and national parks to manage increasingly challenging wildfire seasons. 

In 2021, UC ANR contributed to reduced fire risk through prescribed burns on over 6,800 acres across the state. For example, a new PBA led by forestry advisor Susie Kocher conducted several burns with landowners, volunteer fire department members, foresters and community members in El Dorado and Amador counties. Reducing fire fuel loads helped subsequent fire behavior occur as planned. This PBA is the most recent of nine to receive grants from the California Department of Conservation to hire a PBA coordinator.

UC ANR’s Lenya Quinn-Davidson, a fire advisor in Humboldt County, is part of a bipartisan coalition of advocates including ranchers, tribal partners and scientists that pushed for the 2021 passage of a California law that permits prescribed and cultural burns. In particular, cultural burns emphasize stewardship practices that ready the land for use by future generations.