Fire Series Part 1:
Fire Ecology Stewardship Strategies:
From Fire-Resistant to Fire-Adapted

Fire Series Part 1
Fire Ecology Stewardship Strategies: From Fire-Resistant to Fire-Adapted


What is fire ecology and how do we sustainably live in our natural fire regime? What can we do individually? What can we do collectively? This training will explore land management techniques for living in fire-prone areas. Whether your land burned in the Complex Fire or never in your lifetime, learn directly from foresters, conservation specialists, grassland managers and fire ecologists.

This event will host several panelists including experts from the Sonoma Resource Conservation District, Santa Rosa Junior College and Pepperwood Preserve, Sweetgrass Grazing, and more. Each giving a brief presentation, followed by a moderated panel discussion and finally we will open to questions from the public.

We understand that the reality of our fire ecology is fresh in the minds of our community members- those who lost their homes and those that did not. This discussion may posit controversial ideas learned in the aftermath of the Complex Fire. Some might even say “radical.” We believe science-based approaches and those that bring us in closer harmony with natural systems are all worth discussing. We come together to learn, to discuss various approaches, and to respectfully debate views. Come with your questions!

What You Will Learn:


  • How to assess the threat of fire to your specific site
  • Development of forest management plans, both on fire-damaged properties and on properties seeking to become more resilient to future fires
  • Land management for fire resilience and land management for ecological health: where do they overlap and where do they become mutually exclusive.
  • Healthy grasslands: whose job is it anyway?
  • Short term VS Long term fire management and what it will take to accomplish them
  • Managing the forest landscape for and with fire – some options for the future
  • Specifics lessons learned from the Complex Fire such as re-oaking efforts in fire-damaged areas and throughout the county; the importance of disturbance in grassland ecologies (also the importance of grasslands in human existence)
  • How climate change will continue to increase the threat of wildfires and how landowners and specialists can employ new approaches under a shifting climate regime.

Who is this course for:


  • Residents
  • Living In Fire Prone Areas
  • Land Owners
  • Land Managers
  • Rural Land Planners
  • Farmers and Ranchers

Location: The Permaculture Skills Center, 2185 Hwy 116 S, Sebastopol, CA 95472

Dates: June 2, 2018

Time: Saturday 4 pm – 6  pm

Cost: FREE

About Ariel Greenwood:

Ariel calls herself a feral agrarian – one whose agricultural practice sits on the edge of domestication. How can agriculture regenerate wild systems? And how can wildness support agriculture? These are the questions Ariel loves to reckon with as she’s perched in fruit trees or moving cows across rolling California grassland. After delving into fruit and vegetable production throughout her teens and early 20’s, Ariel began to learn of the significance of grassland ecosystems for planetary health—and subsequently, the ruminants that maintain them.

So in 2014 she joined Holistic Ag, a cattle company that partners with conservation land bases to use animal impact as a tool for restoration. As herdess at land partner Pepperwood Preserve in the Mayacama of Sonoma County, she manages over 150 cattle to sensitively graze its many acres of grasslands and savanna. Complementary to her broad acre pastoral pursuits, Ariel hones her practice as an orchard person by caring for the trees at OAEC. She strives to balance a horticultural focus on individual trees with the broader environment that surrounds them, to the benefit of all. When not up a tree or miles deep with the herd, she blogs at, and enjoys speaking opportunities to share her enthusiasm for carbon-storing, bioregion-boosting perennial pursuits.

About Fred Euphrat:

Fred lives in Occdental, teaches at SRJC and has a long history working on Sonoma County forestry issues. As a geographer and licensed forester, he owns redwood timberland in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and is a forester for conservation organizations. He has published peer-reviewed papers on management of redwood ecosystems, and hundreds of essays in print and on local radio. He is a cofounder of the Sonoma County Forest Conservation Working Group, and is also keen on music, archaeology, chi-gong, woodworking and dogs.

About Keith Abeles:

Keith has been active in agriculture for over twenty-five years as a producer and advocate of sustainable agriculture. His expertise includes water use efficiency and management, farm management, hedgerow design and implementation, and grower outreach and education. At the RCD, Keith assists growers on water resources topics such as irrigation system evaluation, irrigation scheduling, and groundwater infiltration. He also works with growers to prioritize multiple conservation goals through LandSmart Plans. Keith graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, emphasizing agricultural ecology. He is co-owner of Quetzal Farm, a ten-acre organic vegetable farm in Santa Rosa.

About Valerie Minton:

Valerie has over eleven years’ experience in the field of natural resources and has developed a strong background in ecology, water quality, agricultural conservation, and public policy. Valerie began her service at the RCD in 2008. Over the years she played many different roles on the team, gaining experience in all program areas as well as operations, finance, and fundraising, and in 2017 she was selected to serve at the RCD’s Executive Director. In this role, Valerie oversees the RCD’s day-to-day functions while providing strategic direction for the future, building partnerships, and advocating for the RCD at the local, state, and federal levels. She serves at the direction of the RCD’s Board of Directors, and works in partnership with the entire RCD team. A life-long Sonoma County resident, Valerie holds a B.S. in Biology from Sonoma State University, and is very active in her community, including serving as Vice Chair of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.