Fuel reduction may not save places from wildfire

By George Wuerthner, ecologist
The Bend Bulletin
November 14, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The tragic deaths, loss of thousands of homes, and the displacement of even greater numbers of people in Santa Rosa, California, and elsewhere from wildfire offer some lessons that all Westerners, and especially those in Central Oregon, need to consider. The fires in California were driven by drought, low humidity, an extended period of hot temperatures and, most importantly, wind. Climate/wildfire research reveals that climate/weather is the driving force in large wildfires, not fuels.  …We, living in Central Oregon, may be deluded into believing recent fuel-reduction projects will save communities like Bend, Sisters and Sunriver. Not only will most of these fuel reductions fail, there is a growing body of evidence that finds “active management” often increases fire severity, partly because grass, shrubs and small trees quickly fill fuel treatments with flashy fuels.

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