- Author: Phil McRea, Sonoma County Master Gardener
- Contributor: Karen Giovannini, Agriculture Ombudsman, UCCE Sonoma
Many residents in Sonoma County live in or near fire danger. For those who do live in a high fire area, knowing what to do when conditions are ideal for a forest (or urban fire) is essential.
Red Flag Warning
- Sustained wind speeds averaging 15 mph or greater
- Relative humidity 25% or less
- Temperature over 75 degrees F
Fuel Moisture Index
The fuel moisture index is a tool used to understand fire potential. 10-hour fuel moisture also known as Dead Fuel Moisture; when fuel moisture is <30%, it is essentially considered dead. 10-hour fuel moisture applies to grasses and bushes up to 1 inch in diameter. Learn more at NOAA.
The US National Weather Service warning is to inform area fire fighters and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wild-land fire combustion. Cal Fire and local fire agencies all go on a high alert status under these conditions.
The Wind Cries...Santa Ana or Diablo?
The Santa Ana and Diablo winds occur throughout the year, but are extremely dangerous during dry periods (which, in Southern CA is practically year round). Santa Ana occurs in Southern CA, Diablo in the north. Winds come from the east from hot surfaces (deserts) and are compressed and speed up as they head towards the ocean. Learn more from SFSU. Check out current wind conditions at Windy.com.
Here are some things you can do when Red Flag Warnings are issued. State and local news agencies usually announce Red Flag Warning 24-48 hours in advance on TV and radio, so there is time to act on short-term fixes.
During Fire Season
- Make sure garden hoses are hooked up and ready to use with spray nozzles attached; best practice is to never leave a garden hose randomly piled up as it will always tangle – if you want it coiled, coil it in equal sized oval loops with each successive loop offset few inches in the same direction.
- All portable propane tanks (BBQ, smoker, etc.) should be turned off and moved away from your house.
- If you have a pool: in an emergency, a pressure washer can be used to pump water from your pool and should be left in an available location; fire fighters should have clear access to your pool.
- Decks should be cleared above and below of flammable objects.
- Gas cans – for lawn mowers, chippers, whatever – should be moved away from house or garage/barn.
- Cover firewood stacks next to house with a fire resistant cover.
- Make sure cell phones are charged and ready for alerts and within hearing at all times.
- Close exterior doors and windows. Leave doors unlocked. Leave lights on inside and outside of house.
- If you have a ladder, leave it available outside, next to the house, in case fire fighters need to access roof.
- Have all your evacuation supplies such as flashlights and a good portable radio ready to go.
- Make sure your cars have plenty of gas and are parked outside, or garage door is capable of manual operation and all capable family members know how to open it.
- If appropriate, shut off gas supply line at the meter.
- Make an evacuation plan and collect all necessary supplies.
- Clean gutters and roof debris regularly.
- Where possible, install mesh screening under decks to prevent burning material from blowing.
- Move firewood piles away from house.
- If you have a pool, research the special pump systems that are available for fire fighting.
- For more information obtain a free brochure: “Living with Fire in Sonoma County” from fire agencies of Sonoma County.
Learn more about disaster preparation and recovery on Disaster Recovery Resources./h3>/h3>/h2>/h3>/h3>/h2>
4-H is Helping Prepare Youth for College and Career
By Steven Worker, Ph.D., 4-H Youth Development Advisor and Diego Mariscal, UC 4-H Outreach Coordinator
Youth need to be prepared for higher education or a skilled profession after they graduate from high school. A college-ready young person is academically prepared for a four-year, two-year, or vocational course of study without the need for remedial coursework. College-ready youth are competent in reading, writing, mathematics and have social and life skills to succeed in a post-secondary program. Career-ready youth have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for employment in their chosen career. Unfortunately, many high school graduates are not ready for college or the workforce. In California, less than one in three high school ACT-tested graduates were not ready for entry-level college courses. The cost of college tuition and social disadvantages contribute to access barriers for some families. In the fastest growing career fields, less than half of high school graduates interested in these fields meet the ACT College Readiness Benchmark. Companies are often finding it challenging to recruit qualified workers to fill needed positions. Solving these challenges and supporting our youth in becoming college and career ready will require collaborations between schools, youth programs, businesses, and families.
The University of California Cooperative Extension is strengthening its college and career readiness efforts through the 4-H Youth Development Program. 4-H is the only youth program connected to land-grant universities and geared to develop social and life skills needed for a successful transition to college and adulthood. 4-H programs fill a critical need in preparing youth to succeed in college and careers. In 4-H programs, youth develop important skills including social skills, stress management and grit, growth mindset, self-motivation, confidence, and responsibility. These are the kinds of “soft skills” (also referred to as “non-cognitive” skills or “life skills”) key to succeeding in college and in the workforce.
Cooperative Extension is beginning to focus on helping 4-H members gain awareness of higher education options (like vocational, community, and four-year college options), identifying relationships between careers and 4-H projects, or actively exploring careers. In this program year, 2017-2018, Sonoma County 4-H initiated two programs to support college and career readiness. The first is a career exploration program where Sonoma County teenagers were invited to visit a business, speak with employees, tour the facility, and learn about what it takes to succeed in that career. We thank Parker Hannifin and Double 8 Dairy for hosting teenagers at their workplaces.
Sonoma County 4-H will expand these two pilot programs next year by creating a Sonoma County 4-H Teen Club, which will focus on leadership development, career exploration, and social connection. 4-H will also start offering the Juntos family workshops at Cook Middle School. Through these efforts, 4-H is helping paper our young people for college and career options after they graduate high school. For more information, please visit http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/4H/
- Author: Karen Giovannini
Decision makers and the public have little knowledge of animal agriculture production or the ecosystems services provided by livestock grazing on western open space lands, according to Larson and Barry. To address the issue, they created an information campaign promoting the value of cattle grazing and ecosystem services on open space through curriculum and interpretive trail signage.
The advisors collaborated with the California Rangelands Conservation Coalition and three park districts (East Bay Regional Park Districts, Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, and Sonoma County Regional Parks) to produce signage, factsheets and videos describing ecosystem services and how they relate to California rangelands. The print materials can be found at Grazing on Public Lands.
The three videos are posted on UC ANR's YouTube channel:
Susie Kocher, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra area, will accept the award on behalf of Larson and Barry during the awards ceremony May 2 at the ANREP conference in Biloxi, Miss./table>
Want to know what bug is making holes in the leaves of you shrub or eating your fruit? Or what is the pesky weed you cannot get rid off? The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publications have four sets of Pest Identification cards for you. These pocket-size, sturdy, laminated cards can be easily carried with you as a quick reference wherever you need them. The sets are also available as electronic publications formatted for iOS and Kindle compatible devices.
The Vineyard Pest Identification and Monitoring Card set is the perfect quick reference to stay on top of pest activity in your vineyard. The 50 cards covers 41 common insect pests and mites, 11 diseases, 23 beneficial insects, weeds, and invertebrate pests. Each pest is identified by a description and excellent close-up color photographs with 244 photos in all. On the reverse of each card is a description of the various life stages and monitoring tips. The cards include everything from mealybugs and phylloxera to leafhoppers and Eutypa dieback, all of which have an impact on California vineyards. It also includes descriptions of natural enemies as well as handy inch and metric measurement scales.
These cards are also available as a separate card set, publication #3538, in Spanish. You can purchase each card set alone or in bundles for a price break. The bundles are perfect for vineyard managers and crews.
Each weed is identified by a description and excellent close-up color photographs of various growth stages with 187 photos in all. On the reverse of each card is a description of growth stages, habitat, distribution and management tips. It also includes handy inch and metric measurement scales. A sturdy rivet keeps the set together so individual cards don't go astray.
A new set Pests of the Garden and Small Farm Cards is coming out soon. Stay tuned for its release.
To purchase the card sets or electronic versions, visit the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources publication catalog. Refer to the table below for the publication number.
Or click on the publication number below and the link will take you to that page in the catalog.
Card set Publication
EPUB for iOS
MOBI for Kindle
Landscape Pest ID
Vineyard Pest ID and Monitoring
Identificacion de plagas de la vid
Weed Pest ID and Monitoring
Tree Fruit ID
Backyard gardeners, if you still cannot identify that weed, bug or problem with your plant, you can always bring a sample to our office. There is a drop box available to leave samples after hours.
Through the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) was awarded $99 million for the 2018 Dairy Digester Research and Development (DDRDP) and Alternative Manure Management Programs (AMMP) in 2018. It is anticipated that $19 - $33 million will be allocated to AMMP and $61 - $75 million to DDRDP. While applications for DDRDP are due February 23, a request for applications for AMMP has not yet occurred, but projected for March 2018 with proposals due May 2018 and funding awarded August 2018.
Pasture-based management could include conversion of a non-pasture system to pasture-based management, increasing pasture time on existing pasture operations, and/or construction of a compost bedded pack barn. Solid separation and conversion from flush to scrape must have been in conjunction with an additional practice that increased manure drying, such as solar drying, composting, daily spread, or solid storage. Additionally, both installation of a new solid separation systems or replacement of an existing solids separation system with improved separation efficiency qualified for the program.
Applications were scored based on project plan and long-term viability, budget and financials, estimated greenhouse gas emissions reductions, project readiness, environmental benefits, and benefits to disadvantaged and low-income communities. This grant required no matching funds, as CDFA would fund 100% of total project cost, but cost sharing had the ability to demonstrate industry commitment and support for the project. Reviewing the 2017 request may give insight into the suitability of intended projects for this program and the needed information to put together an application. Building a project team early and identifying important components to submit a successful application is key to meeting the quick deadline, which is expected to be six weeks after applications are requested. Projects awarded funding during the 2017 cycle are available to view on the CDFA website, along with a tentative 2018 timeline and the 2017 Request for Applications (https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/oefi/AMMP/). To receive updates for this program, sign-up for email notifications on the CDFA AMMP webpage.