Berkeley Forests personnel assessing impacts of Mosquito Fire on Blodgett Forest

September 15, 2022

Berkeley Forests personnel are assessing the condition of Blodgett Forest Research Station, a “living laboratory” in El Dorado County that was impacted by the Mosquito Fire last week.

Forest Manager Ariel Roughton entered Blodgett Forest on September 11, three days after the blaze first crossed into the research station’s main tract, and confirmed that no structures were damaged in the blaze. Favorable fire behavior and weather are expected to continue to move the fire away from Blodgett Forest. 

Prior to the fire reaching Blodgett, Roughton worked diligently with incident managers and ground crews to ensure that fire suppression operations took into consideration the highly valuable research being conducted on the property. “This saved a lot of really important research that could have been destroyed if Ariel hadn't been so diligent about coordinating with those folks,” said Rachelle Hedges, project and policy analyst with Berkeley Forests.

The fire burned with mixed effects throughout the property, according to Roughton, ranging from high-severity impacts in some areas to low severity in others. One plot treated by pyrosilviculture, a technique that blends applications of prescribed fire with traditional forest management methods, suffered low-severity impacts due to the blaze.

“This was a situation where previous management history made the fire go out,” said Robert York, professor of cooperative extension and co-director of Berkeley Forests, calling it a “demonstration of pyrosilviculture actively working.” High-severity effects were observed in a nearby plot that had been partially thinned but not treated by pyrosilviculture.

Berkeley Forests personnel will continue to assess how fire and related suppression activities impacted certain research plots and generate recommendations for each based on their observations. Read more about the fire and the lessons York hopes to glean in the New York Times.