Field Training: Prescribed Burning in Soquel Demonstration State Forest
Monday, October 16th, 2023, 10:00am-2:30pm
This field training was an opportunity for participants to increase their knowledge and skills to be to be advocates for the prescribed burning program at Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) and for the CZU as a whole. The training allowed participants to see this work in person at the SDSF helipad area, where CAL FIRE personnel completed a successful burn.
Angela Bernheisel, Forest Manager at SDSF, provided background on the fire history of SDSF and an overview of their goals for the prescribed burn program. Sam Filson, Battalion Chief and Incident Commander, described field operations and communication strategies within the unit. Brett Agler, CZU Vegetation Treatment Program Coordinator, focused on the planning and logistics for prescribed burn implementation, including the use of the CalVTP and smoke management. Richard Switzer, Monterey Bay Crew 1 Fire Captain, covered site preparation and discuss the relationship with the California Conservation Corps (CCC). Manuel Garcia, Battalion Chief and Unit Safety Officer described safety protocols. Lastly, Cecile Juliette, Public Information Officer, discussed public perceptions of prescribed burning.
Participants were asked to provide feedback and input on ways to build support and advocacy for the burning program at SDSF. They also were involved in a training exercise to increase their skills at prescribed burning advocacy with CAL FIRE staff.
|Field training begins|
Drive to Helipad Burn Area
|Presentations from CAL FIRE staff|
|Presentations from CAL FIRE staff|
|Advocacy Building Exercise|
|2:30pm||Field training ends|
Sam Filson, Battalion Chief and Incident Commander, CALFIRE
Sam Filson is a Battalion Chief and the Incident Commander for the prescribed burn at Soquel Demonstration State Forest. As a battalion chief, he performs as a manager and directs personnel in the implementation of various departmental programs.
Manuel Garcia, Battalion Chief and Unit Safety Officer, CALFIRE
Manuel Garcia is a also a Battalion Chief and the Unit Safety Officer for the prescribed burn at Soquel Demonstration State Forest. As a battalion chief, he performs as a manager and directs personnel in the implementation of various departmental programs.
Richard Switzer, Monterey Bay Crew 1 Fire Captain, CALFIRE
Richard Switzer is the Fire Captain of Monterey Bay Crew 1. As a fire captain, he supervises the work of an engine company and hand crews and shares in the management of a fire station.
Angela Bernheisel, Division Chief, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, CALFIRE
Angela Bernheisel has been the Forest Manager at the Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) since 2011. She has 28 years of experience working in forestry and fire in the Central Coast Region. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and became a Registered Professional Forester in 1998. Previously Angela served as the Vegetation Management Program Coordinator and Forest Practice Inspector in the CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit and worked in private consulting forestry with Edward A. Tunheim.
Angela has a love for forestry and the fire service that began long ago when she served as a firefighter for two seasons on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest right after high school. Managing SDSF is her dream job where she once worked as a Forestry Aide for a season and where she has a deep connection to the Santa Cruz Mountains and community. She has extensive experience in managing State Forest timber sales and projects for stream habitat enhancement, fuel treatments, road improvements and public recreation. She has worked at SDSF to build the infrastructure for conducting prescribed burns at this forest and has been increasing the pace and scale of wildfire resilience projects along with top notch researchers and collaborators.
Brett Agler, CZU Vegetation Treatment Program Coordinator, CALFIRE
Brett Agler graduated Humboldt State University in 2012 and started with CAL FIRE in 2015, working in the Demonstration State Forest Program at Boggs Mountain Demonstration State Forest. During his time at BMDSF the entire property burned in the 2015 Valley Fire. Brett assisted with salvage logging and replanting the entire 3,500-acre property. After that he transferred to CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Program out of Sacramento assisting with project monitoring and grant administration statewide for Forest Health Projects. Brett started as the VMP Forester in Santa Cruz County in August of 2022. During his time in the Vegetation Management Program he has planned and coordinated various fuel reduction projects throughout the County including prescribed burning and fuel break implementation.
Colin Noyes , Assistant Forest Manager, Soquel Demonstration State Forest, CALFIRE
Colin has over a decade of experience working as a Registered Professional Forester in the Santa Cruz Mountains in both the private and public sectors. As the Assistant Forest Manager, Forester I, at the Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF), Colin is responsible for overseeing daily operations at SDSF as well as writing Timber Harvesting Plans and other permitting documents, overseeing the GIS database, supervising seasonal staff and providing emergency response. Before joining CAL FIRE in 2014, Colin worked for Big Creek Lumber Company as a Forestry Technician and Staff Forester. Colin Graduated from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Forestry with a concentration in Environmental Management. His passion for forest management began as an intern at the Cal Poly Swanton Pacific Ranch, where he got hands-on experience in the field of forest management. That passion for managing redwood ecosystems in the Santa Cruz Mountains continues to this day.
Cecile Juliette, Public Information Officer, CALFIRE
Cecile Juliette is the public information officer for CAL FIRE CZU. She graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin Texas with a major in Communications and a minor in English. Prior to her career at CAL FIRE, she spent 16 years as a tv broadcast journalist in Montana, Colorado, and most recently, Chico, California where she covered many destructive wildfires including the Camp Fire. She has traveled the state to work as a PIO for CAL FIRE on major wildfires including the Dixie, Caldor, and CZU August Lighting Complex Fires. Cecile is passionate about helping the community prepare for disasters and for sharing CAL FIRE’s mission in the protection of life, property, and natural resources.