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August 24, 1998

'Controlled burn' gets a slow start at Marshall Field

UCSC's Tim Batinovich sparks a blaze at Marshall Field (more photos).

By Francine Tyler

The "controlled burn" carried out by UCSC and local firefighters on Wednesday, August 19, remained truer to its name than firefighters might have liked.

A cloudy, cool day and greener-than-expected vegetation kept a damper on the burn at Marshall Field for most of the day. In late afternoon, late-breaking sunshine and a sea breeze whipped up the flames for a grand finale.

Firefighters planned to burn selected parts of Marshall Field on the east and west sides of Empire Grade, four miles up the road from UCSC's main entrance. Their plans were fouled, however, by the high moisture content of the plants on the west side of the road, so the crews burned the east side only, said Chief Chuck Hernandez of UCSC's Fire Department.

UCSC's Fire Department has scheduled another controlled burn for Wednesday, September 23, to knock down the grass and weeds on the west side of the road, said Hernandez. The burn may be canceled if the plants are still too green to burn by mid-September.

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