As all of us in southern Oregon and northern California know, we live in fire country. Our skies are filled with smoke from dozens of blazes. Climate change has brought us a longer, hotter, drier fire season. Decades of clearcut logging have created millions of acres of dense timber plantations. And nearly a hundred years of fire suppression have altered the resiliency of some forest stands to fire.
So what can we do about it?
BEFORE FIRES HAPPEN
Let’s make our homes and communities “fire safe” by clearing flammable material from around structures. Let’s support efforts to thin dense young second-growth timber plantations. Let’s encourage land managers to carefully utilize prescribed fire at the right time and place to reduce fuels. Most of all we must collectively start to take climate change seriously.
WHILE FIRES ARE BURNING
We can focus on staying safe, supporting our neighbors and local businesses who may be struggling, aiding those displaced by fires, and avoiding finger pointing and extremism.
ONCE THE FIRES ARE OUT
Together we can advocate for post-fire management that restores, rather than exploits recovering forests and watersheds. We can ask forest managers to take actions that reduce fire hazards by retaining large fire-resilient trees and avoiding the creation of dense even-age tree plantations.
Not everyone needs to agree about every aspect of fire management. Fire behavior is a complex field and it’s okay to reach different conclusions and hold different beliefs. But even in crisis, there are many opportunities for us to pull together.
Please visit this site if you’d like to learn more about KS Wild positions on fire and fire policy.