Restoration efforts in the Chetco Bar fire in southwest Oregon are getting underway. While most of the area was lightly burned or even unburned, more than a third of the acreage suffered severe or moderate tree damage.
Federal forest managers are gearing up to authorize salvage logging in some of the more badly-burned areas. Local elected officials are pushing hard for cutting those trees. But others question whether the long-term costs outweigh the short term benefits.
The Chetco Bar fire in southwestern Oregon was the state’s biggest wildfire of 2017, burning just over 191,000 acres, mostly in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Seven homes were lost and hundreds of people had to evacuate from Brookings and nearby communities.
Read and listen to the November 2017 two-part series on Jefferson Public Radio:
(photo: Liam Moriarty/JPR)
Why has this year's fire season in the West been so intense? Is this a precursor of what is becoming the new normal?
On Monday October 16, Dominick DellaSala was a guest on KBOO's Locus Focus. In previous conversations they stressed the important role that fire plays in ensuring healthy forest ecosystems. But after this summer of fire, smoke and ash across the Pacific Northwest, and now Northern California, how do we reconcile our understanding of the need for forests to burn from time to time, with the horrific realities now in our faces.
Listen to the full interview at KBOO.fm
By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter
Originally Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 at E&E: Greenwire
The widespread damage from wildfires in California's wine country could have been avoided with better fire management policies, researchers say.
A more consistent and thoughtful approach to defensible space around homes would reduce wildfire threats and is a better long-term approach than thinning forests far away from populated areas, said Alexandra Syphard, a senior research scientist at the Conservation Biology Institute.
Syphard, speaking yesterday at a forum sponsored by critics of the timber industry, said policymakers should stick to a "from the house out" strategy to protecting homes and businesses, and not rely on management of wildland areas to control fires.
By Annette McGee Rasch / for the Mail Tribune
After such a smoke-filled summer, many are fatigued by wildfire and hope next year’s fire season will be less intense.
But fire officials and scientists say if future impacts are to be minimized, the public must take personal responsibility on their own properties, embrace common-sense rural development plans and support science-based forest policy.
“Especially in the wildland-urban interface zones, people need to become more responsible for their own survivability,” said Illinois Valley Fire District Chief Dennis Hoke. “We can’t look for the government to solve everything. People should ask themselves, ‘What would it take to create the defensible space that can spell the difference between losing or saving my home if a wildfire runs through?’ ”