ASHLAND, Ore., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Fire scientists are releasing a new synthesis of the ecological benefits of large wildfires, including those that kill most vegetation in fire-adapted forests, grasslands, and shrub lands of the western U.S.
The online Fireside Chat presents the latest science on wildfire’s ecosystem benefits, with (a) nine key findings, (b) information on the landscape impacts from climate change, post-fire logging, and fire suppression, and (c) ways to help homeowners prepare for fires.
It also includes links to fire videos and contact information for wildfire researchers.
Its purpose is to serve as an information tool for the press, decision makers, and land managers interested in the ecosystem benefits of large fires, which have been under-appreciated.
Dominick DellaSala, Chief Scientist of Geos Institute, stated “Contrary to popular belief, most large wildfires are not catastrophes of nature, as many plant and wildlife species depend on them to restore habitat in short supply and to replenish soil nutrients.”
DellaSala continued, “We can co-exist with wildfires by thinning vegetation nearest to homes and in fire-prone tree plantations, and by allowing large fires to burn unimpeded in the backcountry under safe conditions.”
According to the National Interagency Fire Center (www.nifc.gov
), California, southern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico, southern Alaska, and Oregon could experience large fires this year, given the dry conditions. However dry, fire-adapted regions generally have experienced substantially less fires, compared to historical times, due to ongoing fire suppression.
Suppression costs in some years have approached $5 billion on public lands, with limited effects on slowing large fires that are mostly driven by weather events. The Forest Service already has signaled that it is likely to run out of wildfire suppression funds long before the end of the fire season.
Dominick A. DellaSala, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientist
541.482.4459 x302 (office); 541.621.7223 (cell)