This morning, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” returned to a 2015 wildfire and shared the positive role fire ecology has played on the landscape’s subsequent health.
The segment explains the dependency sequoia trees have on fire to open their cones and disperse seeds for regeneration. It also shared how the National Park Service used prescribed fire before and after the event to control fire spread in that area and promote the landscape health of these historic sequoia tree stands.
The lightening caused 2015 Rough Fire near Fresno, CA, which impacted the sequoia tress, was not without tragedy. It burned 151,623 acres for over 3 months before being 100% contained, causing over 2,500 evacuations, numerous respiratory related hospital visits, and the severe burning of a firefighter.
In the May edition of NFPA Journal, I focused on the use of prescribed fire and the politics that brings. When the WUI becomes someone’s backyard, the historic role of fire in that landscape is all but removed. Wildfire used to help maintain a healthy balance of natural growth, soil fitness, and removal of dead biomass. Now, humans have to provide those functions ourselves and it raises many challenges, which I explored in the column.
If you’re interested in learning more about prescribed fires, the Wildfire Today blog shared a great time-lapsed video of a prescribed fire in the Black Hills of South Dakota from 2014. I've often referenced this because watching the video, you get to see what a prescribed fire cleans up, and, more importantly, what it leaves behind.
Photo Credit: National Wildfire Coordinating Group - InciWeb: Sunset Rock Prescribed Burn, Posted on: 06/27/15 12:59 pm, InciWeb the Incident Information System: Sunset Rock Large Photograph
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