Public invited to observe prescribed fire training in Santa Cruz County


First Forester TREX to be held June 3-6

California's first-ever Forester Prescribed Fire Training Exchange event focused on bringing together professional foresters, forest managers and fire practitioners will occur June 3-6 near Watsonville. The four-day event is being hosted by the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association, which empowers the public to build a culture of good fire and supports private landowners in conducting prescribed burns in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

There will be one burn conducted during the event, likely on June 4 or 5, which will be open for the public to observe.

Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREXs) first came to Northern California in 2013, and have made a positive cultural shift concerning prescribed fire, within both regional fire services and the general public. These “good fire” TREX events have drawn significant attention, especially in the context of more severe wildfire seasons.

After months of cross-organizational planning, the four-day long training will be focused on exploring the connections between sustainable forest management, wildfire resilience, timber harvesting, prescribed fire, and will include a burn within a commercially harvested redwood forest. The TREX will provide experiential training opportunities to forest managers and planners to advance statewide knowledge of how to conduct prescribed fire in merchantable timber stands.

Along with the prescribed burn, the program will include lectures, local tours, and open discussions on how to incorporate fire into timber management, burn planning and timber harvest planning, pre- and post-fire considerations, and permitting mechanisms for fire and timber harvesting. Presentations will be given by local forestry consultants, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, CALFIRE and local fire practitioners.

The burn location will occur near Mount Madonna, on private land with access allowed for accompanied observation only.  Be advised, while the ForesterTREX planning team works closely with theMonterey Bay Air Resources District to assure good smoke dispersal, smoke may be seen and be present in these areas during and after a burn. Please see the Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association webpage at for updates close to the burn date.

Participants and partners include the Mount Madonna Center, members of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Esselen Tribe of Monterey County, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, Resource Conservation District of Monterey County, CALFIRE, local land trusts, scientists, ranchers, students, researchers, land managers and others. The Central Coast Prescribed Burn Association is currently funded via California Coastal Conservancy grants.

For more information or to join a group of observers, contact Barb Satink Wolfson, UC Cooperative Extension area fire advisor at

By Pamela S Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach