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CalVTP in Practice: Learning from Pile Burning and Broadcast Burning at Berkeley Forests' Grouse Ridge VTP Project

Thursday, April 4th, 1:00 - 3:00pm

This webinar was an opportunity to learn about the implementation of the California Vegetation Treatment Program (CalVTP) at Berkeley Forests and the integration of prescribed fire practices at the Grouse Ridge Research Forest. Participants increased their understanding of how to plan for pile & broadcast burning using lessons learned from the VTP at Grouse Ridge Research Forest. 

Ariel Roughton, Research Stations Manager at Berkeley Forests, provided an overview of Berkeley Forests and the Grouse Ridge Research Forest. She also discussed utilizing the CalVTP to meet CEQA compliance for forest health treatments, focusing on its integration into Berkeley Forests' prescribed fire and fuels management program. Robert York, Adjunct Associate Professor of Forestry at UC Berkeley and Co-Director of Berkeley Forests, covered how the VTP process has facilitated experimental treatments at Grouse Ridge. He also explored the broader potential of VTPs for management experiments by academics or practitioners. Kestrel Grevatt, Assistant Forest Resources Manager at Berkeley Forests, discussed prescribed fire implementation for Berkeley Forests and other nonindustrial forestland owners. Brent McDermott, a private forest landowner, shared insights into his experiences preparing for and completing a burn on his property. He  also covered his experience with Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding. 

Webinar Agenda
Time Item
1:00pm Webinar begins
  Ariel Roughton: Introduction to Grouse Ridge Research Forest and the Grouse Ridge Vegetation Treatment Project
  Robert York: VTP Facilitation of Treatments and Maintenance in the Context of Research and Extension 
  Kestrel Grevatt: Implementation and Permitting Pathways for Prescribed Fire on Private Lands
2:15pm 5-minute break
  Brent McDermott: EQIP Experiences, Land Preparation, and Burn Day
  Panel Q&A

Webinar ends


Ariel Roughton, Research Stations Manager, Berkeley Forests  

Ariel Roughton is a Registered Professional Forester and the Research Forest Manager at Berkeley Forests. She oversees management and research activity across Berkeley Forests’ six research forest locations covering the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada from Shasta to Tulare counties. She is responsible for writing and implementing Timber Harvest Plans, conducts and plans prescribed burn operations, determines stand treatments, and manages ongoing inventories. 

Kestrel Grevatt, Assistant Forest Resources Manager, Berkeley Forests 

Kestrel Grevatt is the Assistant Forest Resources Manager with Berkeley Forests. Kestrel supports forest operations across the six Berkeley Forests properties including supporting the planning and implementation of fuels treatments, prescribed burns, and timber harvests, and conducting outreach and education. Kestrel has a background in fuels management and fire suppression, and throughout 2023 also served as the Coordinator for the El Dorado Amador Prescribed Burn Association, supporting private landowners in planning and conducting broadcast burns on their own properties. Kestrel holds a BS from the University of Southern California and is currently pursuing a Master of Forestry degree at UC Berkeley. 

Rob York, Co-Director, Berkeley Forests / Assistant Professor, Cooperative Extension UC ANR / Adjunct Associate Professor of Forestry, UC Berkeley

Robert York is an Associate Professor of Cooperative Extension and Associate Adjunct Professor of Forestry at UC Berkeley. He also serves as the Co-Director of Berkeley Forests. York obtained his Bachelor of Science in Forestry, a Master of Science in Forest Ecology, and a PhD in Forest Ecology, all at UC Berkeley. York's research focuses on forest science and management, particularly in exploring novel approaches to forest management treatments that are guided by ecosystems' disturbance regimes. Operating within UC Berkeley's research forests in the Sierra Nevada mountains, he applies research to management by extending information to a wide variety of stakeholders. York’s extension focus is on applying scientific results and exploring management approaches within an experimental context, striving to apply the principle of Active Adaptive Management to forest management. Currently, his work centers on prescribed fire for building resilience in young even-aged stands. He is also exploring forest harvesting regimes for restoration goals and the use of alternatives to herbicides in forestry.  

Brent McDermott, Private Landowner  

Brent McDermott, MD, has been practicing Emergency Medicine in Grass Valley since 1993. He is a private forest landowner with a 106-acre mixed conifer forest on the west side of the Sierra Nevada in Nevada County, at 5600 feet. A wildfire burned through the property in June of 2008. He has been working on forest improvements using federal funding through the EQIP program since 2016 and completed the project this year. Conditions were right for a controlled burn last year, and with the help of UCB forestry staff, he was able to complete a 50-acre broadcast burn in the fall. The land is less than a mile from the UCB Grouse Ridge Research Forest.    

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