Good fire is coming to Santa Barbara County. Fifty firefighters and “firelighters” from throughout the U.S. and Canada will be meeting at UCSB Sedgwick Reserve in the Santa Ynez Valley on Thursday, November 17, to conduct a “prescribed burn,” a controlled fire to clear away dead undergrowth and other debris from forests to prevent catastrophic wildfires and conserve biodiversity.
The event is a part of a weeklong Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) being held November 12-19. TREX Firefighters planned eight days of burning at the Sedgwick Reserve and The Nature Conservancy’s Dangermond Preserve to learn how to safely conduct prescribed burns, as well as engaging in seminars on local fire ecology and tribal burning. Prescribed fire training came to NorCal in 2013, but this month’s exchange is the first time the TREX is lighting up in our neck of the woods.
According to the S.B. TREX press release, “The TREX will provide experiential training opportunities to advance regional prescribed fire capacity while also enhancing research to better understand the ecological response of wild plant and animal species following fire.”
Participants at the event on November 17 will include employees of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, The Nature Conservancy, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR), Vandenberg Space Force Base, scientists, ranchers, students, researchers, land managers, and others.