There are many here on the NCFP blog that don’t believe that there is any scientific basis for Sound Forest Management in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire. For those with an open mind and a desire to do what is right for our National Forests and the environment, here are two articles that will provide some food for thought. I have added some bolding and italics for emphasis and some “Notes:” for clarification.
1) The Arizona Daily Star reports that:
– “the Southwest Fire Science Consortium, which held a three-day meeting in Tucson this week to address forest resiliency in the face of climate change and megafires.
More than 100 scientists, land managers and firefighters from government, academic and nongovernmental agencies gathered to brainstorm strategies for making forests resilient as big, hot fires threaten their very existence.
“More fire, not less” is one answer, the researchers said.”.
– “Treating and burning the landscape regularly, and using natural fire to accomplish those same ends will allow those changes to occur gradually.
The alternatives, said fire ecologist Don Falk, are more megafires and more abrupt changes.” Note: The use of “treating” includes logging to reduce excessive stand density and other fuel reduction efforts.
– “Falk, in his keynote address to the group, showed a photo of an entire watershed burned to ash in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico during the Las Conchas Fire in 2011. No mature trees survived, no seed source remains and the soil is washing away. That change, he said, “is essentially irreversible.”” Note: This doesn’t mean that nothing can be done to ameliorate the losses.
Note: In regard to these findings above, there is nothing here that hasn’t been known to foresters for over a half century but maybe this reaffirmation will help some to understand the need for sound forest management and the consequences of excluding sound forest management.”
2) The News Herald in North Carolina in an article entitled “Prescribed burns reduce wildfire threat” gives us quick overview of what all goes into preparing for and carrying out a prescribed burn. The article doesn’t give enough detail regarding the weather planning and restrictions imposed before executing control burns by the states. To my best knowledge, states have to approve all burn plans before they can be carried out so there is a strong checks and balances system in-place to minimize adverse weather risk, ignorance and carelessness in fire plans. Here are some quotes:
– “Some plant communities and animal species rely on periodic fire for their existence. The prescribed burns also reduce the amount of potential wildfire fuel and protect a parks’ resources and neighboring areas if lightning, arson or carelessness sparks a wildfire.”
– ““The point of this fire was to reduce the threat of wildfire. We’re burning it on our terms so a wildfire can’t burn on its terms,” Walker said Tuesday. “Our goal is to reduce small fuels by consuming them with fire. There will also be some benefits by reducing hardwood competition and making a more park-life appearance with general aesthetic quality.”
Before the fire can be lit, the rangers create a strict burn plan that factors in temperature, humidity, wind and more.
“We have certain weather parameters that the burning plan dictates. You don’t want the ground too wet or too dry because it takes a lot of effort to put the fire out,” Walker told. “We are really fortunate that a lot of the land that we have to patrol on a prescribed burn is bordered by the lake.”
Personnel began a test burn to make sure the winds were going to cooperate. The N.C. Forest Service and park rangers were ready to pull the plug if weather was going to be an issue. A burn line was constructed from the parking lot to the lake, and fire personnel proceeded to burn 61 acres of the Fox Den Loop.”
– “N.C. State Parks’ mission is to help promote natural forests. Historically, this area and statewide has burned more frequently,” said Bischoff. “Prior to settlement, several hundred years ago, this area had wildfires that burned very frequent in this area. Fire in general usually has a lot of negative connotation, but fortunately the community for the most part has been really supportive.”
– “The N.C. Forest Service also stated there is a program to fund burns on private lands”