December 16, 2020
Prescribed Fire May Mean Safer Smoke – Scienceline
Emerging research suggests that smoke from prescribed burns is less harmful than smoke from wildfires. By Casey Crownhart at the Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program at New York University. Read it here.
The Second Coming of the Flames – Tahoe Quarterly
Sierra Nevada forests are in the midst of an ecological transformation fueled by record-breaking wildfire and a changing climate—and a 13-year-old Tahoe burn area may hold a glimpse into the state’s future forests. By David Bunker, in Features, Winter 2020-21 The Tahoe Quarterly. Read it here.
November 5, 2020
A Lesson in Learning to Live with Fire, and Each Other — Bloomberg CityLab
A Congress-funded forest restoration effort, the Dinkey Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project (Dinkey CFLRP) in the southern Sierra Nevada brought environmental groups, loggers, cabin owners, church camps, research scientists, and the U.S. Forest Service together to cooperatively plan management actions on 154,000 acres of public lands. The project is located adjacent to and overlapping with 15,000 acres of the Creek Fire (379,729 acres as of this writing), the largest single ignition fire in California’s history. Laura Bliss discusses the history and context of the group’s mission with several key members in this insightful article.
Wildfires Destroy Thousands of Structures Each Year — Headwaters Economics
Focusing exclusively on the size of wildfire overlooks the important differentiation between “good” and “bad” wildfires. Fire is a necessary ecological process and provides crucial ecosystem benefits. Large low-severity wildfires burning where there are no homes can rejuvenate forests and replenish soils, while small high-severity wildfires that escape mitigation and suppression efforts can result in tragic outcomes. Wildfires need to burn on many of our landscapes and allowing more good wildfires reduces the likelihood that bad wildfires will occur. Read the rest of this excellent piece by Kimiko Barrett, PhD.
October 28, 2020
Watch Dr. Stephen Pyne in a one-hour, free Zoom lecture on “The Pyrocene: How Humanity Created a Fire Age.” The talk was part of the Lynn W. Day Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History series, cosponsored by the Forest History Society, Duke University's Department of History and its Nicholas School of the Environment. Dr. Pyne answered questions he was unable to get to during the presentation, in writing. You can find those questions and responses here.
October 27, 2020
Experts to Western States: Time to Finally Fight Fires with More Fire—NPR, All Things Considered
A major obstacle to expanding controlled burns is institutional inertia in large, risk-averse state and federal agencies. Calfire and the U.S. Forest Service largely continue to embrace an antiquated 'fight every fire' ethos. Read the transcript, or listen to the newscast here.
October 22, 2020
Size Isn’t the Best Way to Talk About Fires — Bay Nature
What if we flipped the script on fire? What if we assumed that fire didn’t mostly destroy, but instead it mostly renewed? Replenished the soil? Rejuvenated the forest? What if we described fires by how much good ecological work they did, but also acknowledged where gaps in human mitigation and adaptation have had tragic outcomes? Read more in this great article by former firefighter and Assistant Professor of Fire Science at UC Merced, Crystal Kolden.
October 21, 2020
As wildfires explode in the West, Forest Service can’t afford prevention efforts – LA Times
Throughout California, Oregon and other Western states, the Forest Service has a growing backlog of millions of acres of forest management projects that are ready to go, requiring only funding and manpower to complete. By staff writer Anna M. Phillips. Read it here.
October 1, 2020
California’s inescapable fire debt—The World and Everything in it
September 23, 2020
What the Photos of Wildfires and Smoke Don’t Show You – ProPublica
The West will need “good fire” — controlled, managed fire that balances the ecosystem — to stave off deadly, out-of-control fire. We need to know what that looks like. By Elizabeth Weil and Lisa Larson-Walker. Read it here.
September 17, 2020
Wildfires have burned over 5 million acres in the West. Are they too big for Washington to ignore? – LA Times
With massive wildfires across the West burning more than 5 million acres and displacing tens of thousands of people, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says this is the moment for Congress to reform the nation’s fire management policies, or brace for more Septembers like this one. By Anna M. Phillips and Jennifer Haberkorn. Read it here.
September 16, 2020
Fighting Fire with Fire --Axios
The catastrophic wildfires in parts of the West are a product of climate change, but also decades of failure to use controlled fire to reduce fuel load. By Brian Walsh. Read it here.
September 15, 2020
KQED Radio Live Forum: How To Keep California's Forests Healthy and Reduce Fires
KQED Forum host Michael Kresney talks with Craig Thomas, director, Fire Restoration Group; Lenya Quinn-Davidson, area fire advisor, UC Cooperative Extension; Danielle Venton, reporter, KQED Science; and Scott Stephens, professor of fire science, the College of Natural Resources at UC Berkeley. Listen here.
September 13, 2020
150 Million Dead Trees Could Fuel Unprecedented Firestorms in the Sierra Nevada --LA Times
Two years ago scientists warned that a massive tree die-off in the Sierra Nevada could set the stage for forest conflagrations akin to World War II fire bombings. By Bettina Boxall. Read it here.
September 11, 2020
Fire Restoration Group director Craig Thomas talks with CNN’s Natalie Allen about fire policy and the history of fire management in California. Watch it here.
September 11, 2020
Newsom signs bill paving way for inmate fire crews to become professional firefighters – Mercury News
Legislation allows nonviolent offenders to have their records expunged, parole waived. By Jason Green. Read it here.
August 28, 2020
They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen? -- ProPublica
This is a story about frustration, about watching the West burn when you fully understand why it’s burning—and understand why it did not need to be this bad. By Elizabeth Weil. Read it here.
August 23, 2020
California fires: State, feds agree to thin millions of acres of forests – Mercury News
New plan would last 20 years, reshaping California’s landscape. By Paul Rogers. Read it here.
August 20, 2020
California Looks to Battle Mega Wildfires with Fire -- Scientific American
As flames once again rage across the state, officials embrace a counterintuitive firefighting approach. By Jane Braxton Little. Read it here.
August 13, 2020
Long-Term Strategy to Manage Forests and Rangelands – Press Release from Governor Newsom’s office
In a key step to improve stewardship of California’s forests, the Newsom Administration and the U.S. Forest Service today announced a new joint state-federal initiative to reduce wildfire risks, restore watersheds, protect habitat and biological diversity, and help the state meet its climate objectives.
The Agreement for Shared Stewardship of California’s Forest and Rangelands includes a commitment by the federal government to match California’s goal of reducing wildfire risks on 500,000 acres of forest land per year. To protect public safety and ecology, experts agree that at least one million acres of California forest and wildlands must be treated annually across jurisdictions. Read the press release here.
August 13, 2020
July 1, 2020
Fire historian and author Stephen Pyne has recently written an excellent 12-page "Fire Primer for Journalists." While the intended audience may be journalists, the composition provides such a great background on fire, it should be required reading for anyone living interested in the fire ecology of our region. It could easily provide the basis for schools to create a fire curriculum unit, and for other officials and individuals to share essential information about fire. Download the paper here.
May 1, 2020
In an early response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Forest Service in California recently issued a region-wide ban on prescribed fire on National Forest lands, causing widespread concern and prompting our coalition to take action. Read the coalition letter we sent to Region 5 Director Randy Moore on April 27, regarding the decision, and the agency's announcement on May 1 that the prescribed burning program would continue. We are grateful for the Region's response.
Feb. 19, 2020. Read the latest blog, Pyrodiversity Begets Biodiversity.
February 15, 2020
"With this effort, we’re essentially hanging up a sign for California gulls that says, ‘Ready for occupancy,’” said Kristie Nelson, a biologist and expert on the California gulls of Mono Lake.
January 24, 2020
October 24, 2019
August 26, 2019
November 27, 2018
November 30, 2018
Living with Fire on the Inyo National Forest (2020) documentary with fire ecologist and Public Affairs Officer Deb Schweizer, U.S. Forest Service, Inyo National Forest. This is a great presentation, don’t miss it. View the video here.
Watch the TEDx Berkeley Talk, “Wildfires in California: Friend or Foe?” by fire scientist and director of the UC Berkeley Fire Center, Professor Scott Stephens, April 2019.
Not If But When: Wildfire Solutions (2019)
This 39 minute documentary features interviews with Nevada County local community groups as well as forest managers and scientists working collaboratively to restore fire resilient landscapes and use fire to restore ecological health and processes. Watch it on Amazon.com.
Links and Resources
Prescribed Fire Councils
Previous Events and Archives
Meteorology, Predictive Services and Fire Weather Forecasting: MOU Partnership Virtual Meeting
Monday, June 22, 2020, 3:30 PM 4:30 PM
About the Event
How do we restore fire on ecologically significant (and strategic) acres (consistent with NRV), expand burn duration and often complexity, when meteorological predictive capacity is outside the range of reliable certainty? This event was hosted by the Fire MOU partnership .
For a summary of forecasting tools, check out this page from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group https://www.nwcg.gov/publications/pms437/weather/forecasts
-Presentations and background from panel
-Discussion questions and objectives
The March 13 - March 26 2020 Prescribed Fire on Private Lands Workshop March 13th - March 26th has been CANCELLED due to the Covid-19 pandemic, until further notice. All registration fees are being refunded.
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