August 10, 1998
By Francine Tyler
UC Santa Cruz firefighters are scheduled to burn approximately 55 acres of campus meadowland off Empire Grade on Wednesday, August 19.
The controlled burn is scheduled to take place in the Twin Gates area four miles up the road from the UCSC's main entrance, encompassing selected parts of Marshall Field on the east and west sides of the road. All of the designated burn area is on campus property. The west side of Marshall Field is part of the UCSC Natural Reserve.
This year's site is slightly to the south of the area burned during a similar controlled fire last August (see photos).
The burn is scheduled to start in midmorning and last until late afternoon. It may be canceled if fires in other areas of the state require attention, or if weather conditions move outside a prescribed safety window.
Controlled burns such as this one have several benefits, said UC Santa Cruz fire chief Chuck Hernandez. They help the campus lessen its risk from wildland fires by eliminating fuel that would feed such a fire. They provide training for firefighters. They also help the campus combat invasive plants--mostly European annual grasses--allowing native perennial grasses and other native meadow plants to flourish.
The City of Santa Cruz Fire Department, the California Department of Forestry (CDF), and the California Youth Authority are also planning to send crews to participate in the controlled burn.
For more information, call the UCSC Fire Department at (831) 459-3473.
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