Not fiery enough: Why the modern era of large wildfires in eastern Oregon and Washington actually needs more fire

National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)
March 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A Webinar Series by the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement and the Washington Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

Wildfires and fire seasons are commonly cast as good or bad based largely on the simple metric of area burned (more acres = bad). A seemingly paradoxical narrative frames large fire seasons as a symptom of a forest health problem, while simultaneously stating that fire-dependent forests lack sufficient fire to maintain system resilience. One key to resolving this paradox is placing contemporary fire years in the context of historical fire regimes. Historical regimes can also inform forest restoration efforts by illuminating how much fire area historically maintained (i.e., ‘treated’) fire-resilient landscapes. …Contrary to the common narrative of unprecedented or too-much fire in our dry forest landscapes today, modern fire years are only burning a small fraction of a typical historical year when hundreds of thousands of acres are burned annually on average.

Read More