Fire is as important to many forests as is rain. It has been an critical ecological process on Earth for over 400 million years. Living with fire can be difficult and even terrifying if you are near an active fire. There is much we can do to protect homes and communities from burning. KS Wild encourages projects on private and public lands that restore resilient forests, work toward reducing flammable vegatation around homes, and gets fire back on the ground in controlled conditions.
But we have so many questions about fire. We have learned quite a bit about the impacts of fire, and what affects management has on fire. How does logging interact with fires? What are the impacts of climate change on fires? Will the forest grow back? These and many other questions have been studied by researchers and we present some important studies below.
We do know that calls for gutting environmental laws and opening up forests to unregulated older forest logging to stop fire are misguided, will only make fires more severe, and sacrifice our shared natural heritage.
Scientific Resources About Fire In Our Forests:
Climate Change Will Increase Fire Risk (Science)
Impact of Climate Change on Western Wildfire (National Academy of Sciences)
Strategic Thinning Done Right Can Reduce Fire Risk (Journal of Wildland Fire)
Post Fire Logging Increases Fire Risk (Science)
After Fire Forests Grow Back Naturally (Journal of Forestry)
The Ecology of Mixed Fire Severity Forests (Forest Ecology and Management)
Creating Defensible Space Around Homes Works (Journal of Wildland Fire)
Converting Forests to Tree Plantations Increases Fire Risk (Conservation Biology)
Guide to Creating a Defensible Space Around your Home:
More Resources from KS Wild:
Following decades of fire suppression and logging that created dense young forests, a return to ecosystem resiliency requires thinning second-growth plantations, retaining large trees and forest canopy, and returning the role of fire to these fire-dependent forests.
A suite of species depend on fire for their life cycles. Healthy stands of white and purple Ceanothus burst forth after fire and provide for a suite of pollinators. Knobcone pines love the heat that enables their cones to release seeds. Black- backed woodpeckers thrive by foraging amongst blackened snags. Fire is as necessary as water is to the local forest ecosystem.
The forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains are dependent upon fire. For millennia, lightning storms have ignited blazes that sparked the unique plant communities, tree composition and biodiversity that define the region. Our forests are evolved to accommodate the regenerative force of fire.
The mountains of the Kalmiopsis emerged from the ocean floor as result of geological uplift (rather than volcanism) and have been subject to folding and faulting ever since. As a result, the unique soils are packed with heavy metals including nickel, iron, chromium, and magnesium that make life hard for most plant life. To survive in this environment plants have had to evolve and adapt to get by in circumstances that would normally kill most flowering species. More than any other wilderness in the region, the Kalmiopsis is the home of oddball survivors.