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Underburning is the practice of deliberate burning of surface fuel to leave the tree canopy intact as seen here in the Old Highway Road community. Training will be offered this spring. File photo

Landowners burn fuels with cooperative’s help

Concerned Quincy land owners partnered with the Plumas Underburn Cooperative (PUC) on Feb. 28 to conduct its first official prescribed burn.

Members of the Old Highway Road Firewise Community, located just east of Quincy, reduced fuels surrounding four houses on 2.6 acres. Prior to underburning, the community was seen as at high risk of fire danger.

“It was a great learning experience for all the new people who helped with the burn,” said PUC coordinator, Matt West. “It got them used to the idea of burning, and got them comfortable with it.”

Prior to the underburn, members of the Old Highway Road Firewise Community worked to make their neighborhood more fire resilient by thinning the understory of the woods near their homes.

Along with local landowners, PUC’s active membership includes Forest Service personnel participating as citizens, local volunteer firefighters, Fire Safe Council members, Feather River Resource Conservation District, UC Cooperative Extension and tribal representation. These members range in skill from no experience with fire to decades of experience.

PUC is a community-initiated group of local landowners willing to help each other underburn each other’s land, modeled after Humboldt Prescribed Burn Association.

The group formed last year and currently has 22 active members, 112 members on the PUC email list and has received a CalFire Grant to help them get started.

With its first official underburn under its belt, PUC is looking to expand its membership and reduce fuels in more areas at risk of fire around Plumas County.

“PUC focuses on reducing fuels to promote forest health and community fire resilience,” West explained. “Anyone in the county can join PUC to learn more about fire, help with underburning and get help with their own land.”

The Underburn Cooperative’s web page is under construction , meanwhile West encourages anyone who is interested in reducing fuels around their property to give him a call at 927-5297 or email him at [email protected] to find out more about the cooperative.

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