Late winter is the time to burn it back.
Pampas grass can be allowed to grow with out being cut back, but in time it will become a large clump with lots of dead material included in the clump. You can also cut it back each year to rejuvenate the clump and remove the old dead growth. However, this is quite a job. Better wear gloves and figure out what to do with all those tough trimmings you will end up with.
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