Prescribed Burning for Beargrass Enhancement on the Last Chance Project
November 3, 2011
"I was forwarded notice about a planned "Bear Grass burn area" at the Last
Chance study site. Do you have information about the objectives/prescription for
that particular treatment as well as what kinds of monitoring data will be
collected pre/post to evaluate the effects? My colleague, Frank Lake, and I are
interested in gathering information about fire effects on cultural resources as
well as monitoring prescribed fires on the quality of those resources for
cultural uses. Thank you, Jonathan Long Pacific Southwest Research Station."
Bear grass Xerophyllum tenax, is a fire-tolerant species that needs periodic
fire to produce new growth, and is often the first plant to re-sprout after a
fire. Low intensity fire eliminates dead, dry blades from the previous year’s
growth and encourages supple new leaf growth that is used by traditional weavers
to make baskets, hats, and other items.
1. Conduct a low intensity burn consuming 80% to100% of the above-surface bear
grass leaves to stimulate re-sprouting of new leaves for weaving.
2. Keep unwanted vegetation from encroaching upon the gathering site.
3. Maintain a minimum of forty percent effective soil cover.
Fire Behavior Prescription
1. Flame lengths from 3 to 4 feet.
2. Effective wind speed from 6 to 7 miles per hour.
3. Scorch height from 3 to 12 feet.
4. Forward spread rate from 238 to 508 feet per hour.
5. Backing spread rate from 13 to 20 feet per hour.
6. Spotting distance not to exceed 1584 feet.
On November 2, 2011 2.9 acres of the designated beargrass enhancement area
within the Last Chance Integrated Vegetation Management Project were ignited.
Preliminary observations indicate that all of the treatment objectives were
successfully met. While the Forest Service did not collect pre-burn data for
this specific burn area, adjacent unburned fuels are representative of the
For additional information, contact:
Larry Peabody, Fuels Specialist
Tahoe National Forest, American River Ranger District
22830 Foresthill Road. Foresthill CA 95631
(530) 367 2224 x 240
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