Wildfires are getting more extreme. Did we get too good at putting them out?

By Steve McKinley
The Toronto Star
August 16, 2022
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada

Though the number of wildfires nationwide has slowly dwindled over the years, the fires themselves are getting more severe. One of the reasons, forestry experts say, is that we’ve gotten a little too good at putting them out.  Climate change, which brings us longer, hotter, drier seasons, is also driving the increase in intensity. But part of the problem, said forestry expert Kira Hoffman, is that fire is no longer our friend.  Where once we’d let forest fires burn if they weren’t threatening a community or infrastructure, and where once Indigenous people would practice cultural burns — setting fires around habitation sites for safety and resource management — decades ago the needle swung toward suppressing fires. … “There’s this kind of big shift that happens in the 1930s where we start to think of fire as really the enemy,” said Hoffman, a post-doctoral researcher in fire ecology at the University of British Columbia.

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