Stewarding the land with “good fire” at Haroutunian South

March 25, 2024

Posted in: News Articles

The Haroutunian South property is a greenbelt – an open space property that acts as community separator between Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park. Purchased by Ag + Open Space in 1995, the property is home to  an old orchard, vernal pools, California tiger salamander, as well as the endangered plants Sonoma sunshine and Sebastopol meadowfoam.

In recent years, Ag + Open Space has partnered with the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation for annual monitoring of rare plant species and the management of grazing, as well as the removal of invasive species on the property.

As part of the invasive species management work this past summer, the Laguna Foundation cut and treated non-native woody shrubs including non-pollinating fruit trees, rose plants, and firethorns. After cutting back the non-native plants, the debris needed to be removed from the property so that it would not interfere with future grazing or vegetation management projects.

To remove the debris, the Laguna Foundation conducted its first-ever pile burn – a prescribed fire tool where removed vegetation is piled and then burned (an efficient and low-cost method). 

Prescribed fire is incredibly versatile, and can be used to accomplish a wide range of land management goals. At Haroutunian South, invasive plant species management was needed to support and restore the native plant ecosystem.  

Proper notifications were made, permits received, and numerous precautions were taken before, during, and after the pile burns to ensure safety and control. Another essential to any prescribed burn is a check of the local weather forecast! Any conditions that would make fire control more difficult, like high winds with low humidity, would have canceled burning for that day. 

With an ample supply of water and safety personnel and equipment on hand, the pile burn was a success! 

Read more about other prescribed burns at Ag + Open Space properties >>