Smoke and flames on the UC Santa Barbara campus were part of a controlled fire that wiped out about a half acre of land by the campus lagoon. Eventually new plants will cover the area.
Darwin Richardson with the Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration says the fire burns so hot, it destroys "bad" seeds on the surface. The native seeds are stronger, and handle the heat. Eventually with winter and spring rains they come to life.
“It's less invasive in that way and less labor intensive, there is some work in adding fuel and clearing burn lines, and things like that,” said Richardson.
Rob Hazard with Santa Barbara County Fire was on a crew keeping the fire in check and making sure the burn went just as planned. He intentionally set it as a burn that went against the wind. “The fire stays in one spot for a longer period of time, which consumes the fuel more completely and transfers that heat into the soil,which is what they wanted.”
UC Santa Barbara plans to plant 3000 native plants in the area, from about 20 different species.