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July 11, 2011

Small, prescribed burn July 18 at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), in collaboration with Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, will conduct a small, prescribed burn inside the preserve's main entrance on Sand Hill Road near Woodside on Monday, July 18, provided conditions are appropriate.

The prescribed burn will be confined to just 1.2 acres of grassland and will provide a range of benefits for management and research.  The area that will be burned has been intensively studied for 14 years, providing background information so that the burn can be used to:

  • assess the impact of fire retardants on soils and grassland communities for possible deployment for added safety along preserve perimeters.
  • test the performance of a remote, stand-alone fire detection system for deployment at the preserve.
  • better understand fire dynamics as the environment of California changes in the future.

The burn will be conducted mid-morning by Cal Fire and is expected to last about an hour. A nearby hydrant will assure adequate water for the fire crews. Notification has been provided to the Woodside Fire Protection District and is being provided to residents and passersby so they will not to be alarmed by smoke in the area.

Since 1997, the grassland within the burn site has been a part of the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment. This nationally acclaimed study examines how California grasslands are likely to respond to various climate-change scenarios.  The project has led to groundbreaking insights about how ecosystems are likely to respond to environmental changes that are anticipated in the coming century.

The prescribed burn will help extend these insights to consider impacts from increased fire frequency and intensity, which are also predicted for California in the future.  Scientists from Stanford, the Carnegie Institution for Science, University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Santa Cruz and several other institutions are working together to study the site before, during and after the burn to maximize what can be learned about fire management under present and future conditions.



Philippe S. Cohen, administrative director, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve: (650) 851-6814,

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