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Chico State

Prescribed Fire Scheduled for Thursday on CSU, Chico’s Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve

A student walks with a drip torch lighting off fire in a dry field.
Jessica Bartlett / University Photographer

Prescribed burning at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve is both a practical tool for fire management and an education opportunity for students, the next generation of fire management stewards.

After one of the most devastating fire seasons in state history, California State University, Chico’s Ecological Reserves are partnering with Terra Fuego to conduct a prescribed burn at the University Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve on Thursday, Dec. 13. 

This project will reduce fuels, which will mitigate fire risk on the property while providing a training opportunity for CSU, Chico students and current and future fire professionals. This project will allow participants to gain experience in using prescribed fire as a tool for wildfire mitigation and ecological restoration. The prescribed burn will be visible to Forest Ranch and Chico area residents. The primary vegetation is grass totaling 77 acres.

“We are at a tipping point with wildfire in California,” said Terra Fuego executive director Stephen Graydon, “so it is essential that our agencies and organizations collaborate to implement treatments across boundaries to meet this challenge at a scale that matters.”

“Prescribed fire projects are an excellent learning opportunity for our students and fire professionals, while promoting forest health and mitigating future catastrophic fires.” said BCCER Manager Eli Goodsell. “It is important that we conduct these projects now to protect our local communities and continue the conversation around prescribed fire and the important role it plays on our landscapes.”

The BCCER has been using prescribed burns as away of reducing fire danger and teaching students about resilient ecosystems for more than a decade. The reserve is home to 15 different vegetation communities, ranging from oak woodlands and mixed conifer forests to grasslands and chaparral, making it a prime spot for training on different wildfire environments.

Media interested in being onsite during burn operations must comply with standard operating procedures to ensure safety. Please contact Goodsell at 530-228-1525 or Graydon at 530-899-8399 to reserve a spot.

Owned and operated by the CSU, Chico Research Foundation, the BCCER contains 3,950 acres of land, 4 1/2 miles of Big Chico Creek, and exceptionally diverse ecosystems. Since its creation in 1999, the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve has provided students and visitors with opportunities for hands-on experiences with nature and continues to be a hub for innovative research and land management best practices.