Long Canyon-Pismo VMP Prescribed Burn

Vegetation Management Program (VMP) Prescription Burn of 1,475 Acres
Vegetation Management Program (VMP)
The Vegetation Management Program (VMP) was created in 1981 as a cost-sharing program between private land owners and CAL FIRE to reduce fire-prone vegetation. Through prescribed burns, as well as mechanical means of modifying vegetation, VMP projects reduce the risk of large damaging wildfires and improve the growing conditions of native plant and wildlife species. Firefighters also use these previously burned areas as safe places to take a stand against fire.

All prescribed burns are developed in compliance with the state and federal rules and regulations including the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the California and Federal Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts. To ensure this compliance and depending on the location, numerous local, state, and federal agencies may participate in the environmental review process including:
  • DFG
  • DPR
  • USFWS
  • USFS
  • APCD
  • RWQCB
  • County Planning
Wildland/Urban Interface or WUI
The area between urban communities and wildlands (known as the wildland/urban interface or WUI) is especially vulnerable to the effects of a catastrophic wildfire and is the area most often in need of fire hazard abatement. A Vegetation Management Program (VMP) burn, located just outside the City of Pismo Beach’s northern border, is planned to be accomplished in phases over the next three years. The Long Canyon-Pismo prescribed burn project encompasses approximately 1500 acres of dense brush and oak woodlands. Once completed, the project will provide better grazing opportunities for landowners, create a healthier, more diverse wildlife habitat and reduce heavy fuel loading that poses a threat for a damaging wildfire in the wildland/urban interface areas of Pismo Beach.

Prescribed Fire Project
The Long Canyon-Pismo prescribed fire project will begin only when all conditions (weather, fuel, equipment and personnel) designated in the burn plan are acceptable. It cannot be too hot or windy, and humidity levels must be within the prescribed limits. In addition, fire engines and crews must be available to staff the burn. Fire personnel and equipment will be strategically placed and may be assigned to a specific section of the fire, or to move along the control lines as the fire is ignited in order to reduce the potential for an escape.

Fire Control
How the burn is ignited can significantly affect fire behavior and fire effects on the landscape and vegetation. During the Long Canyon-Pismo prescribed burn, several methods will be used to control fire intensity in order to accomplish specific objectives. Ground ignition, utilizing simple methods and specific burn patterns, will be used when working close to homes and to improve the perimeter lines. Aerial ignition, utilizing a specially equipped helicopter, will be used for larger areas and away from homes once the perimeter is secure.

Keeping the Community Informed
CAL FIRE / Pismo Beach Fire Department will strive to keep the community informed throughout the project. The Long Canyon-Pismo prescribed burn project has been highlighted at 2 City Council meetings and at a Fire Safe Council meeting with the Pismo Heights Focus Group. Additional meetings will be planned to keep everyone updated throughout the project.

Additional Information and Updates
Information and updates about the Long Canyon-Pismo prescribed burn is also available on the CAL FIRE / San Luis Obispo County Fire website. Citizens will also be informed prior to any ignition through press releases and local television station Channel 20.