Currently viewing the tag: "wildfire ecology"

Thinning Nuance

On July 6, 2021 By

 

Thinning is often justified on the assumption that reducing “fuels” will slow or stop large blazes, but there is more nuance to the issue than just fuels. Photo George Wuerthner

One frequently hears from proponents of thinning that active forest management can reduce fire intensity and thus is a beneficial policy […]

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The wind-driven pattern of fire in the 1988 Yellowstone fires. Photo George Wuerthner

A new documentary titled The West Is Burning continues to promote a flawed narrative that large blazes are a consequence of “fire suppression” and “fuel build-up.”  Starting from this perspective, it promotes policies like thinning the forest and prescribed […]

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Record temperatures across the West, including a record 121 degrees in southern California by Los Angeles. Massive wildfires charring millions of acres including record large blazes in Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, and California, with the smoke that spread across the entire West. Half of the country is experiencing “severe drought”. Hurricanes ravage the Southeast. Do we […]

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The influence of fire suppression is exaggerated. The idea that there was a “hundred years” of fire suppression ignores the fact that in the early 1920s and 1930s as much as 50 million acres burned annually. Furthermore, climate controls fires, as indicated by the cool, moist decades between the 1940s-1980s. Courtesy of […]

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The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is proposing to log the Lostine Wild and Scenic River corridor. The basic justification is to reduce the potential for large wildfires.

Yet according to the Oregon Department of Forestry, in 2019 only  acres 67,795 acres burned in the state, compared to 846,411 acres burned last year. Why the […]

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Governor Bullock recently created the Montana Forest Action Advisory Council that is biased towards logging and is dominated by timber industry interests and supporters to “reduce wildfire risk.”

I don’t expect the Governor to be an expert on wildfire or forest ecology, but it is clear from the makeup of his council that its […]

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We often hear that our forests are “unhealthy” and among the indicators of forest ill-health are large acreages burning in wildfires. However, if you look back a few centuries or more, you find that we have a fire deficit.

Many paleoclimate studies document major wildfires long before there was “fire suppression”.

Indeed, one study by […]

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Recently I was wandering through a burnt forest in the aftermath of a wildfire with a mixed group of people as part of a field trip with a forest collaborative. We were examining the burn severity pattern that a wildfire had carved through the forest. In many places, the fire had barely charred the ground, […]

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Quote

‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey