PUC Continues Building Fire Resilience Across Forest Property Through Successful 13 Acre Planned Burn

By Sheann Brandon on June 4, 2024

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Pacific Union College partnered with CAL Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit and Napa County Fire Department to conduct a prescribed burn across 13 acres of the college’s Angwin forest property on May 1, successfully managing overgrown vegetation, enhancing forest health, and building fire resilience.

These efforts demonstrate PUC’s ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship and community safety.

PUC Forest Manager Peter Lecourt called the successful burn a win for PUC, Angwin, and Napa County, paving the way for future prescribed burns.

“I am thrilled this project rolled out so smoothly,” Lecourt said. “Many partners played a role in getting the burn unit prepared ahead of the project, as well as helping out on the day we conducted the operation. I’d like to say thank you to CAL Fire, Napa County Fire, Napa Firewise, the Angwin Fire Safe Council, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Napa County Resource Conservation District. Without the help of these partners, this project would not have been possible.”

The burn took approximately nine hours assisted by numerous trained wildland firefighters, four fire engines, and a water tender.

PUC, CAL Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, and Napa County Fire Department carefully planned and strategically coordinated efforts identifying the burn area and date, meeting strict criteria for ecological benefit, weather parameters, smoke management, and fire safety guidelines. Upon burn completion, crews monitored and patrolled the project into the night and for several days.

“In order to protect community members from Pope Valley to Angwin, the fuel reduction project on the ridgeline is crucial,” said Erick Hernandez, deputy fire marshal for Napa County Fire Department. “Over the last five years, we and PUC have focused on eliminating lighter fuels in the forest—additional dead and dying brush was burned during this prescribed burn with the purpose to reduce fast-moving wildfire.” Like PUC, other community members can reduce fuel load around their homes and across their private properties.

“In efforts to build fire resiliency in the community, we need the community’s participation,” Hernandez said. “Ensuring you’re reducing fuel loads can be as simple as removing brush lying around your home.”

PUC continues to work with the Napa County Fire Department to identify prescribed burns in the future, including several potential projects in the fall.

For more information about fire safety or controlled burning and its benefits, visit fire.ca.gov.