The fires that have swept across Northern California are made even more tragic by the fact that some of the devastation could have been prevented. A multitude of factors – including California’s historic drought, a wet winter, and the interface of wild and urban lands – converged into a perfect storm of 21 fires. But the fires are also part of a damaging trend: In the past few decades, wildfires have become larger, more frequent and more damaging. …But there are things we can do now to make future fires smaller and less intense. Among them is proactive restoration. Forests that have become unnaturally dense due to decades of fire suppression must be restored to a healthy state, especially when these forests are near populated areas.