UKIAH, CA, 3/2/23— The City of Ukiah, the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, and the Western Hills Fire Safe Council are looking for volunteers to help remove French Broom plants from the shaded fuel break along the western hills of Ukiah at 8:30 a.m. on March 4.
French Broom is an invasive, flammable plant that spreads readily and can provide a “ladder-fuel” that undermines the purpose of the fuel break.
More information is available on Facebook, or in the full news release below:
The City of Ukiah, in collaboration with Mendocino County Fire Safe Council and the Western Hills Fire Safe Council, is seeking volunteers to help remove invasive and flammable French Broom from the shaded fuel break along the Western Hills of Ukiah. The first volunteer day to remove the broom will be held on March 4th at 8:30 AM. Volunteers will meet at 300 Seminary Avenue in front of City Hall for pre-work orientation and sign in.
The shaded fuel break was created between 2018 and 2020 by grant-funded CalFire crews. Shaded fuel breaks increase the probability of a successful wildfire containment by reducing fire intensity, severity, and by keeping the wildfire low to the ground and decreasing the rate of spread.
Although property maintenance, including fire mitigation measures, is the responsibility of the property owner, the City is working with local Fire Safe Councils to assist with the organization of this important work. Landowners allowed access and authorized the creation of a fire break on their land as a significant contribution to the safety of the entire community.
City staff recently completed an assessment of the fuel break between Low Gap Park and Doolin Creek Road. Following the assessment walk, Fire Chief Doug Hutchison stated, “The fuel break is in overall good condition. We found only one unburnt slag pile in the four-mile area that was assessed.”
However, French Broom was identified in a number of locations. French Broom is an invasive non-native plant that spreads readily and can provide a “ladder-fuel” that undermines the purpose of the fuel break. According to Director of Community Services Neil Davis, the infestations are relatively small and, with a concerted, multi-year effort, it is possible the plant can be contained and potentially eradicated, thereby reducing fire risk. Working together, the community can reduce this growing new fire risk.
The March 4th Broom Busters Big Pull Day will focus on infestations uphill from San Jacinto Drive and a second location uphill from West Standley Street. Volunteers will meet at 8:30 AM at 300 Seminary Drive on the City Hall Steps to sign in and receive instructions and orientation to the project. After sign in and orientation, volunteers will be deployed to one of the two sites. Volunteers do not need to bring tools but should bring gloves, water, and sturdy walking shoes. The broom is off trail on side slopes that require good balance and core strength. Carpooling is encouraged due to limited parking at the drop off points.
Although volunteers can show up the day of the event, RSVPs are appreciated. Please email Marianne Davison at [email protected] saying “I’m coming to the Broom Busters Big Pull” to help organizers plan for the day.
For more information or to sign up, email [email protected] or call (707) 467-5723.
Note: Kate Fishman covers the environment & natural resources for The Mendocino Voice in partnership with a Report For America. Her position is funded by the Community Foundation of Mendocino, Report for America, & our readers. You can support Fishman’s work with a tax-deductible donation here or by emailing [email protected]. Contact her at KFishman@mendovoice.com or at (707) 234-7735. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.