The wrong kind of fires are burning across California

By Jessica Wolfrom
The San Francisco Examiner
February 5, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

California’s forests depend on wildfires. The regular blazes clear out the understory and allow space for new growth. Some trees even need fire to reproduce, waiting for the searing heat to pop open their cones and disperse seeds. But over the last century, to protect an increasing number of homes in wooded areas, fire has been suppressed — and in the process, the ecosystem has been put in danger. This centuries-long practice of fire suppression has thrown the forest cycles off balance, according to new research from UC Davis. The result is more high-severity fires burning at unprecedented rates compared to the period before European settlement. And rising temperatures from global warming are not helping. …Fire suppression has set the stage for more ferocious fires, which have devoured millions of acres in the Sierra Nevada and South Cascade forests in recent years, displacing the smaller fires that used to burn throughout the state year-round.

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