From Jefferson Public Radio in southern Oregon….
A proposed lawsuit from Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Western Environmental Law Center seeks to protect the marbled murrelet and coastal marten, which are both threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
The BLM’s Integrated Vegetation Management forest management plan outlines 150,000 acres of prescribed fires, small diameter tree thinning, and commercial thinning in late successional reserves over the next ten years.
They argue the new decade-long forest management plan will be ineffective. The groups claim the proposed projects would make the old-growth forests less resilient to fire.
But Regional Fire Specialist Chris Adlam with Oregon State University says the BLM plan is a good approach and that the plan will help reintroduce beneficial fire.
“We wanna avoid these large areas of high-severity fire that tend to burn again and again at high severity, and prevent the forest from regenerating,” Adlam says.
He says, there’s a difference between low-intensity and high-intensity wildfires. Low-intensity fires — such as those happening naturally or in prescribed burns — can be beneficial. But high-intensity fires, like many wildfires we see now, can bring negative effects to the landscape and take longer for recovery.
Adlam says the 2020 Slater Fire wiped out huge portions of northern spotted owl habitat. That’s not the only time endangered species habitat has been threatened by high-intensity wildfire.
The last line:
Adlam warns that if government agencies and conservation groups don’t work together, they could waste time as future catastrophic wildfires put species at greater risk.