Introduction to California Fire Ecology
April 22 – 24, 2019
Instructor: Hugh Safford
Hopland Research and Extension Center
California has been referred to as the “pyrostate.” In California’s Mediterranean-type climate, summers are warm and dry, and natural or human ignitions in the presence of flammable biomass often lead to wildfires. Many California ecosystems have close ecological and evolutionary associations with fire. The nature of these relationships varies substantially, depending on factors like the species involved, climate, history, and geography. Participants in this 3-day workshop will delve into the fire ecology of major vegetation types in the north Coast Ranges. Topics will include: fire as a physical process; fire effects on ecosystems and vegetation; fire as an evolutionary force; fire history and fire regimes (including an introduction to fire scar dendrochronology); fire geography; fire management and policy; and climate change and fire. The curriculum will include 2-3 field trips to Coast Range sites exemplifying the fire ecology of grassland, chaparral, knobcone pine, mixed evergreen, Douglas-fir and mixed conifer forest. Fire management and ecological consequences of current and projected future trends in wildfire will also be major focus areas of the field trips. The workshop will be held at the facilities of the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, where 3000 acres of this facility were burned in the River Fire in the summer of 2018.
Accommodations: Shared dormitories with bunk beds and bathrooms with showers and flush toilets. Tent camping will be available.
Meals: Not provided, but an optional potluck will be planned; a shared kitchen is available on site for food preparation and storage.
Transportation: Personal vehicle required for accessing field sites (carpooling possible).
Hiking: Moderate to difficult.
Start/End: Instruction starts Monday, 9:00 am – Wednesday, 5:00 pm; Optional arrival Sunday evening.
Course Fee: $400/$430