Agricultural Solutions to Wildfire, Part 2: Controlled Burns

Posted on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 by
wildfire at full belly Fire near Full Belly Farm in 2018. The Capay Valley is one of the agricultural regions in the state that has experienced multiple years of wildfires in a row. Photo credit Thomas Nelson

Agricultural Solutions to Wildfire Webinar Series

Part 2: Controlled Burns

Controlled burns consist of low-intensity fires that are intentionally lit in ideal weather conditions to treat a specified area to achieve specific objectives (e.g. reduce fine or ladder fuels, enhance native species, and/or manage invasive species). Many Tribes in California have used controlled burns to steward fire-adapted landscapes and protect their communities. In Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources, USDA-NRCS ethnoecologist M. Kat Anderson writes: “Fire was the most significant, effective, efficient, and widely employed vegetation management tool of California Indian tribes…the fire scientists Robert Martin and David Sapsis estimate that between 5.6 million and 13 million acres of California burned annually under both lightning and indigenous people’s fire regimes.” Today, more land stewards are learning about good fire and how it can be applied to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Join us for this second webinar, Wednesday, November 17 from 9:00-10:30am PST to discuss the following questions:

  • What role can controlled burns play in reducing wildfire risks and restoring ecosystems?
  • What challenges do farmers, ranchers, and land managers face in planning and implementing controlled burns?
  • What role can CalCAN and our network play in supporting more land managers in restoring good fire to the landscape?


We also want to hear from you! We will use the final 30 minutes of the webinar to discuss your questions and feedback on this topic. 

If you missed our first webinar on grazing with Devii Rao, Andrée and Bianca Soares, and Marc Horney, you can watch it here on or on our Facebook page.


Wendy Millet is the Ranch Director at TomKat Ranch, an 1,800 acre cattle ranch in Pescadero with a ​​mission to provide healthy food on working lands in a way that regenerates the planet and inspires others to action. Before TomKat, Wendy worked on ranches in Wyoming and Montana, at the Nature Conservancy, and for a local land trust. Wendy also serves on the board of the California Council of Land Trusts and the Farmland Advisory Committee for Peninsula Open Space Trust. Wendy will discuss her recent experience planning and implementing small-scale prescribed burns on the ranch, including her motivations, lessons learned, and thoughts on the relationship between grazing and fire. 

Lenya N. Quinn-Davidson is the UCCE Area Fire Advisor for the North Coast region and the Director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council. Lenya’s work focuses on the human connection with fire and increasing the use of prescribed fire for habitat restoration, invasive species control, and community resiliency. Lenya works on prescribed fire issues both locally to help private landowners bring fire back as a land management tool and at the state level, where she’s successfully championed multiple prescribed fire bills. Lenya will discuss the history of fire in California, how recent legislation and budget investments will impact prescribed fire practitioners, and potential policy and budget priorities for CalCAN to consider in 2022.

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