Weed work — LandPaths held a community work day at the Fitch Mountain Preserve on Jan. 9, where volunteers worked on clearing French Broom from the mountain side. Around eight volunteers met at the Villa Chanticleer parking lot to hike up the muddy and lush Butterfly Trail where most of the maintenance work took place.

Most volunteers were Healdsburg locals passionate about working on reducing fire fuels at the mountain and on their own properties.

LandPaths Stewardship Specialist Nicolas Whitaker led the outing.

While the city owns the land, LandPaths meets at the trailhead each month to work on removing the invasive species.

The hardy plant is fast growing and often grows in tall clumps, which is why it is an important plant to manage since it can be ideal ladder fire fuel — meaning it can carry a fire from the forest floor to the canopy.

Whitaker said it is important to do fire fuel reduction work prior to spring before the broom can flower and disperse its seeds and grow in other places.

Photos Katherine Minkiewicz 

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