Fuel reduction efforts are underway at Stanford’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve as part of the university’s commitment to wildfire management, land stewardship, and research.

Piles of cut vegetation will be partially covered and safely burned during winter months. (Image credit: Sheena SIdhu, Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve)

Neighbors who live along the preserve’s Westridge boundary may notice that crews are removing dead and dying vegetation and thinning healthy vegetation. Much like the shaded fuel breaks along roadways and evacuation routes, the intent of this work is to limit the ability of fire to spread or intensify if it were to reach the preserve.

Neighbors may also observe crews constructing piles of the removed vegetation. These newly created piles of cut vegetation will shrink by approximately one-third over time and have been covered with a heavy-duty, and environmentally friendly, craft paper to keep the vegetation partially dry. In consultation with local and regional fire agencies, these piles will be burned in early 2024, when grounds will be most saturated and weather is most favorable. The pile burning will be conducted in the safest manner possible, following guidance provided by local fire agencies, and will be overseen by a vendor that specializes and is certified in these types of pile burns across California. A notice will be provided to the community ahead of any scheduled burning of these piles.

In addition to the primary goal of improving wildfire resilience in and around the preserve, this project is also offering a unique living lab for wildfire management research.

Researchers hope that exploring the methods of fuels reduction and vegetation management used in these areas will contribute to a better understanding of effective wildfire management, both at the preserve and regionally.

Learn more about wildfire management and research at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve here.