The Burn Test – Can controlled fires protect forests? California is about to find out.

By Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
September 9, 2022
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Wildfires have already burned more than 600,000 hectares across the European Union. In the Amazon forest in Brazil, fires set intentionally to clear land of timber for cattle surged in August to the highest level in over a decade. Across the Western United States, there are about 120 notable fires burning, including some very large ones in California. My colleague, Raymond Zhong, was in the area earlier this year, following scientists at Blodgett Forest Research Station. He was there to write about one way to temper the intense wildfires of the Anthropocene: setting small strategic fires, known as prescribed burns. “Prescribed burns are highly effective at reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. They bring forests back to an earlier state, in which low-intensity fires ripped through quite regularly, clearing out brush and giving the ecosystem a chance to regenerate.” [to access the full story a NY Times subscription is required]

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