By Caitlin Fowlkes of the Tidings
Dominick A. DellaSala, chief scientist at the Geos Institute in Ashland, says more scientists agree that forest thinning in the backcountry is futile.
At a presentation he gave Friday during a symposium on fire, DellaSala said that according to a 2017 study, less than 1% of areas that were thinned had a forest fire.
He said thinning doesn’t work well in extreme fire weather, it can increase wind speed and vegetation, it doesn’t last longer than 10 to 15 years before it must be redone, and it can make land more prone to fire.
DellaSala, speaking at the 100th annual meeting of the Pacific Division of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said there’s just no way to tell where lightening is going to strike.
“A lot of it is in backcountry, in steep areas that you can’t get to it anyway,” DellaSala said. “In many areas you don’t have access, and there’s no way you can treat enough of the landscape to make enough of a difference.”
Rep. Haaland (D-NM) asks congress to focus on home protection and climate change to address wildfire risks. Read the full statement.
Dr. Dominick DellaSala talks about fire, including how wildfire is beneficial to our ecosystems. Does thinning help reduce fire? Does it help the forest? It depends. In any case, Dr. DellaSala explains why salvage logging a burned forests is so destructive. Dr. DellaSala also explains the relationship between climate change and forests, and the carbon capture and release of a forest. Finally, Dominick summarizes the green-new-deal from congress.
Listen to more episodes from Conservation Today
Dotty Owl travels back in time and visits young forests emerging from the charcoal after intense wildfire. Forest fires burn at varying severities leaving a mosaic pattern on the landscape. While burned forests appear stark immediately after a fire, one of the best kept secrets of fire is how quickly the young forests emerge and thrive after fire. Join Dotty and see with your own eyes how many plants and animals thrive in burned forests.
Watch Episode 1 here.
Conservation groups announced a new fire protection alternative designed to protect homes and firefighters from wildfires as a counter to pro-logging approaches that create fire- and climate-unsafe landscapes. The alternative was sent to Oregon Governor Kate Brown and has relevance to fire fighting efforts in California as well, where California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed massive logging that will do nothing to prepare communities for wildfire safety.
Read the response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order on Oregon’s Wildfire Response Council
By Dominick DellaSala and Dennis Odion
Originally published on December 23, 2018 in the Medford Mail Tribune
Smoke from wildfires is gone for now, but this year’s tragic California fires are a stark reminder of what could happen here. There are many take-aways that can help us prepare.
The Camp Fire of Paradise Valley, which took the lives of 88 people and destroyed thousands of structures, had nothing to do with whether the forest was thinned. It was a structure-to-structure fire. Startling images from GoogleEarth reveal surrounding trees untouched while homes burned to the ground. Blown by high winds, embers advanced miles ahead of the flame front, landing on unprepared homes and taking them out in a domino-like fashion.
In Southern California, tornado-force winds are known to spread fire rapidly through shrublands that at one time supported diverse wildlife habitat, but are now sprawling developments. Wildlands were gobbled up by developers during a mid-20th century climate-cool down that made fire suppression effective and created a false sense of security.
California now has unbridled traffic jams and global warming-related fires that destroy entire towns with no end in sight, as over 1 million new homes are planned in harm’s way by 2050. Insurance companies also have taken notice, anticipating increased wildfires related to global warming that will impact everybody’s bottom line.
So, what have we learned that can be applied in the Rogue Valley?
By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter, originally published Thursday, December 13, 2018
Firefighters saved the homes. Then they went into the woods.
California’s 2016 Soberanes Fire broke records for costing the most money to fight a wildfire — much of it in a national forest near Big Sur. That’s the kind of place where experts say fire is good; the ecosystem depends on it, and the flames don’t threaten people or property.
(Photo: Firefighters working to contain the 2016 Soberanes Fire in Los Padres National Forest in California. U.S. Forest Service — Los Padres National Forest/Facebook)
Instead of letting it burn, the Forest Service unleashed an air show. By the end, 3.5 million gallons of flame retardant blanketed the area. Bulldozers cut through 60 miles of woodland, costing the Forest Service as much as $1 million a day to repair, according to a new report.
That lesson threatens to be lost in the whiplash pace of fighting fires.
Aired Monday November 2, 2018
The wildfires in Northern and Southern California this month are a grisly foreshadowing of a world in the fiery grip of climate chaos. It is apparent – unless you’re a climate denier – that climate change is upon us and that fire seasons without end are a stark indication of how much human activity and fossil fuels have intensified wildfire regimes as well as catastrophic weather events.
On this episode of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with fire and forest ecologist Dominick DellaSala, with the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon, about what we need to be learning from California’s escalating problems with destructive wildfires, driven by a warming, drying climate, and a massive expansion of housing in the wildland–urban interface.
Get more information or listen to the recording at the KBOO website.
By Peter Aldhous, BuzzFeed News Reporter (Posted on November 20, 2018, at 4:36 p.m. ET)
Some of the news photos from the devastation in Paradise, California, show a surprising scene: Green, living trees stand near homes that have been reduced to ashes.
They reveal that wildfire is a capricious enemy, but also indicate that there’s more to preventing catastrophic loss of lives and property than the prescriptions offered by the president of the United States — whose tweets and public statements suggest that what California needs to do is hoard water, cut down trees to prevent fires spreading, and get busy raking.
While thinning forests might work in some areas, studies indicate that it’s unlikely to be an effective remedy for California or the West as a whole — and it would have done little to curb the state’s most destructive recent fires.
As BuzzFeed News reported in July, California’s escalating problems with destructive wildfires have been driven by a warming, drying climate, and a massive expansion of housing in what experts call the wildland–urban interface. This has not only put people in the line of fire but has also increased the chances of a conflagration — because power lines and other human infrastructure and activity are the main sources of ignition.
Keep reading at BuzzFeedNews.com
Scientists express reservations about The Nature Conservancy’s Rogue Basin “fuels reduction strategy” that proposes to log/thin over 1 million acres of dry forests in southwest Oregon.
Read the full response here.