After the success of a fall prescribed fire training event, organizers are offering another opportunity to utilize prescribed fire in Plumas county.
The event, known as Cal-TREX, short for “prescribed fire TRaining EXchange,” will be held March 26-28. This event brings together fire professionals and non-traditional partners in a joint effort to restore the ecological and community protection benefits of “good fire.”
Using an “All Hands, All Lands” approach to increase the number of qualified personnel able to work on professional prescribed fire projects, the TREX model provides peer-to-peer learning and training for fire professionals to gain certifications and experience.
It is a model that supports groups like the Plumas Underburn Cooperative (PUC), a local group of citizens who assist each other in the use of prescribed fire on private lands. The group helps landowners navigate permitting, logistics, and provides tools and volunteers on burn days. Many PUC members have an interest in furthering their experience with prescribed fire, so the TREX event is a welcome opportunity to participate in something that is often accessible only to agency employees.
TREX events usually draw participants from a large regional area, however, due to COVID-19 the event will be focused on Plumas County resident participation. Participants can range from landowners looking to manage their land, to college students earning their basic firefighter qualifications or seasoned fire professionals receiving experiences to qualify as a burn boss or specialized incident command positions. Further details about the TREX event, including participant information and registration details, can be found at www.plumasfiresafe.org/trex
After the destruction of the North Complex Fire that occurred this past fall, cooperating entities of the Plumas County Cal-TREX see prescribed fire as a critical tool to get ahead of the problem. Fire plays a key ecological role in the Sierra Nevada, but that role has been absent for well over a century. The wildfires of today are a result of multiple factors, but a powerful driver of extreme fire behavior is the accumulation of vegetation (or “fuels”) untreated by what once was regular intervals of fire. The weekend event will be an opportunity for participants to gain hands-on experience, as well as a deeper understanding of the ecological importance of prescribed fire.
Participants in TREX will become a part of an “on-call” team that can be notified on short notice, to catch the “burn window” and implement prescribed fire. The hope is with more personnel available, and the right conditions, there is potential to utilize prescribed fire at multiple locations around Plumas County. As of now Feather River College in Quincy, a Plumas Audubon Society sponsored project at the Feather River Land Trust’s Heart K Ranch, as well as private lands in in Genesee Valley, and Forest Service units south of Taylorsville and on the Feather River Ranger District, are all on the list of potential burn sites.
Detailed observations of the landscape, weather, and groundcover must be taken before and after fire
events to better understand fire. The TREX planners are aware of the importance of this skill, and want
to share an opportunity for community members to also take part in some of the learning.
On Saturday, March 27, there will be a Nature Journaling event for all who are interested; families, students, kids,
and friends are all invited. The event will take place within the footprint of the North Complex fire;
professional artists will lead an artistic journaling event to emphasize the power of observation. On
Sunday, March 28, the participants from the Nature Journaling event will be encouraged to join the participants of
TREX, to share and discuss findings and lessons learned through both events. For more information and
registration please visit:
In addition to the Plumas Underburn Cooperative, the Feather River RCD, and the Plumas County Fire
Safe Council, event cooperators include the University of California Cooperative Extension, Chico State
Forest. In recent years, Plumas National Forest has undertaken several successful TREX events in Butte
County. These organizations are supported in event planning and implementation by the Directors of
California. WRTC is leveraging a relationship with The Nature Conservancy to provide a qualified burn
Funding for this project provided by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as part of
the California Climate Investments Program.
The Plumas Collaborative Forest Health Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide
program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trad dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the
economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged
communities. The Cap-and-Trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in
clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.
California Climate Investments projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. At least 35 percent of these investments are located within and benefiting residents of disadvantaged communities, low-income communities, and low-income households across California. For more information, visit the
California Climate Investments website at: www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov