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Coastal Prairie Restoration to Mitigate Wildfire Risk

July 18, 2024, 9:00 - 11:30am

Participants will increase their knowledge of coastal prairie restoration and its role in strategic, values-based wildfire risk reduction.

Sarah Vroom, Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council, will discuss the Mattole Restoration Council’s coastal prairie restoration work as well as the associated challenges and opportunities to maintaining prairies with fires. Lathrop Leonard, Burn Boss, Ecologist, and RPF for California State Parks, North Coast Redwoods District, will provide the CA State Park's perspective on prairie restoration and maintenance such as prescribed fire, manual removal, and revegetation. Ross Dollarhide, Pre-fire Engineer at CAL FIRE, will focus on the benefits of prescribed burning for ecological improvement and fire resilience. Jeff Stackhouse, Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor-Humboldt/Del Nort, University of California Cooperative Extension, will discuss his private lands-based research on woody encroachment of coastal prairies and the Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association's key philosophies around utilizing fire on private lands. 

Workshop Agenda
Time Item
9:00am Webinar begins 

Sarah Vroom: Why Coastal Prairies?


Lathrop Leonard: Prairie Restoration and Maintenance on State Park lands along the north coast of California 

  Ross Dollarhide: Ecological Improvement and Fire Resilience Utilizing Prescribed Fire in California's Coastal Prairies 
  Jeff Stackhouse: Woody Encroachment on North Coast Rangelands 
10:15am Break

Sarah Vroom: How can I Actually Burn? 


Ross Dollarhide: Improving Fire Resilience: Restoring Coastal Prairies with CAL FIRE's VMP/VTP Planning Assistance 

  Jeff Stackhouse: Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association 

Webinar ends

Link to presentation abstracts


Sarah Vroom, Executive Director, Mattole Restoration Council 

Sarah Vroom, based out of Petrolia, CA has been the Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council since 2020 and recently completed a Masters in Natural Resource Management with a specialization in fire ecology through the University of Idaho. When she’s not wrangling non-profit administration, she can be found working on increasing her fire qualifications to support the Mattole Restoration Council and Lower Mattole Fire Safe Council’s ongoing efforts to restore historical fire regimes in the Mattole watershed.

Lathrop Leonard, Burn Boss, Ecologist and RPF for California State Parks, North Coast Redwoods District 

Lathrop has worked for California State Parks for 20 years where his primary focus has been conducting prescribed burns, reclaiming prairies from encroachment and restoring second-growth forests. He is a Registered Professional Forester and a type 2 Burn Boss. He currently runs the vegetation management program for the State Parks’ North Coast Redwoods District, which includes all 22 parks in Humboldt, Del Norte and northern Mendocino counties. Prior to Parks, Lathrop did similar work in Western Washington and spent 2 years in Peace Corps, Kenya.

Ross Dollarhide, Pre-fire Engineer, CAL FIRE

Captain Dollarhide has been a career firefighter for nearly 20 years and currently serves as the Pre-Fire Engineer for the CAL FIRE Humboldt – Del Norte Unit. In this role, Ross coordinates and executes prescribed fires as a RX Fire Incident Commander and manages fuel reduction projects throughout the unit, navigating diverse fuel types and management objectives. Captain Dollarhide is also assigned to a CAL FIRE Incident Management Team as a Fire Behavior Analyst.

In addition to his operational responsibilities, Captain Dollarhide represents CAL FIRE on the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council. He is also responsible for providing oversight on building and development projects and ensuring compliance of State Fire Safe Regulations within the areas of CAL FIRE jurisdiction. Ross also supervises a team of Defensible Space Inspectors and serves as the unit's Fuel Moisture Sampling Technician.

While progressing through the ranks, Ross obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Ecology from Cal Poly Humboldt. Captain Dollarhide leverages his education to enhance his practical experience, aiding in the development of effective prescribed fire applications that mimic natural fire processes, significantly contributing to wildfire risk reduction efforts while promoting healthy ecological interactions.

Jeff Stackhouse, Livestock & Natural Resources Advisor- Humboldt/Del Nort, University of California Cooperative Extension 

Jeff Stackhouse, based out of Eureka, CA, has been working as the University of California Cooperative Extension Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for Humboldt/Del Norte counties since 2013. His research is almost exclusively housed on private properties and he strives to make his programming applicable and practical to the private landowners of California’s north coast. Much of his programmatic area involves vegetation management in natural places including the utilization of prescribed fire, mechanical removal, and herbicide treatments of unwanted vegetation.

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