Fire tests years of U.S. forest management efforts

July 21, 2021


Ecologists in a vast region of wetlands and forests in remote Oregon have spent the last decade thinning saplings and using planned fires to try to restore the dense stands of ponderosa to a less fire-prone state.

This week, the nation’s largest wildfire provided an unexpected real-world experiment. As the massive hell half the size of Rhode Island raged at Sycan Marsh Preserve, firefighters said the flames leapt less from cup to cup and instead returned to the ground, where they were easier to fight. they moved more slowly and did less damage to the forest in general.

The initial evaluation suggests that the many years of forest treatments worked, said Pete Caligiuri, Oregon forest program director for The Nature Conservancy, which is leading the research at the preserve.

“Generally speaking, what the firefighters were reporting on the ground is that when the fire reached the areas that had thinned … it had significantly less impact.”

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