The goal is that from the ashes, poppies will spring.
State park officials on Tuesday will burn nearly 15 acres within the California Poppy Reserve in hopes of ridding the land of non-native plants and seeds to give poppies a better chance to flourish.
With little rain this past winter, the recent poppy season was less than spectacular, said John Crossman, resource ecologist for the state Department of Parks and Recreation. In addition, non-native grasses and weeds overshadowed the poppy plants, which in a good year bloom prolifically enough to create a seemingly endless blanket of orange flowers.
“California poppies do well in areas that have a little bit of disturbance,” he said, noting that the state flower often springs up in grazed areas. “We’re not ready to plow the fields or let the sheep in, but (with the prescribed burn) we hope to improve our display of wildflowers.”
A 6 1/2-acre area at the state reserve entrance and an 8 1/4-acre area west of the visitors’ center are scheduled to be burned Tuesday, he said, noting that the total area to be burned amounts to less than 1% of the 1,700-acre reserve.