I just received a press release about a new book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix, by Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hanson.
“For the first time extensive documentation from around the world reveals that
forests and other plant communities need a variety of different types of fires,
including severe ones, to rejuvenate over the long-term. These findings are timely as
Members of Congress propose to weaken environmental laws based on the
assumption that fires are damaging to forests, and logging is needed to reduce fire
“For the first time”? Ask Steve Pyne about that.
The release goes on to say that one of the conclusions the authors draw is that “Forest thinning in the backcountry does not improve homeowner safety, and does not meaningfully influence large, weather-driven fires.”
My response: Thinning and fuels reduction CAN meaningfully influence large, weather-driven fires, as I saw for myself most recently on the 2014 36 Pit Fire in Oregon, where thinned areas had the effect we’d expect — the crown fire slowed, dropped to the ground, and gave firefighters a change to be successful with suppression. Thinning and fuels reduction DOES reduce the likelihood of large, weather-driven fires and can help limit their spread an intensity.
I predict that numerous news outlets will cover this book.