Burning a City Park to Protect Homes From Wildfire

In Chico, California’s popular Bidwell Park, a normally brown, grassy landscape has been transformed this summer into a black, burnt one.

That’s the result of a prescribed burn aimed at creating a wildfire buffer around the city.

While the changed landscape may be a temporary eyesore for the thousands of people who visit the park each day, the burn is a strategic fire safety measure for Chico, in a location where previous fires have come close to pushing into neighborhoods. Accepting that tradeoff represents a critical shift toward getting on better terms with fire.

For a look at the burn, check out our short video recorded in the park this week.

If you’re interested in implementing prescribed fire in a neighborhood or park near you, reach out to The Lookout’s Zeke Lunder at [email protected] for more information and resources.

The Planning Process

The burn in Bidwell Park came after a comprehensive planning process that looked at Chico’s major wildfire hazards and identified the priority areas for prescribed burns. For an inside look into the plan and how it was created, check out the video below: