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'Learn To Burn' Program Teaches Placer County Landowners How To Use Controlled Burns To Combat Wildfires, Drought

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — A program in Placer County is teaching landowners how to fight fire with fire.

The program is nicknamed "Learn To Burn" and it's arming landowners with the skills they need to use controlled burns to fight everything from wildfire to drought.

Ted Odell has a property in Meadowview. He agreed to be part of a test case for the program back in January.

The low and slow controlled burns not only mitigate wildfire hazards by burning the top layer of fire fuel, but it also helps with the drought by allowing rain to penetrate the soil.

"As one individual, I can't deal with climate change, but I can make my property more resilient to what's going on with climate change and make it more fire resilient," Ted said.

On Ted's land today, buckeye trees are growing back, but those low-lying leaves and pine are still gone. Orange posts mark the perimeter of the burn area put in place by UC Davis researchers.

"We are monitoring to understand how prescribed fire can be used to reduce fuel and to restore ecological conditions," researcher John Williams said.

Learn To Burn is funded by Cal Fire. The goal is to mirror the natural burn cycle. For Ted's nine acres, that means lighting up his land every three years.

"That's what I'd like to set up on this property, where I do about a third of it, and a third of it, and third of it and just have a three-year cycle," he said.

The statewide goal is to get 1 million landowners to burn at least one acre per year.

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