Prescribed Burning for a Safer Community
by Aaron Krikava
Wildfire, and how to protect ourselves from its destructive effects, is one of the hottest topics in our communities right now. The intense fires and resulting smoke we’ve all witnessed over the last few years are problems that need to be addressed with meaningful solutions. It may seem counterintuitive but one of the most important ways to mitigate the impact of wildfire in our communities is the use of more fire, specifically controlled or prescribed burning on both private and public lands. The Applegate Partnership is working to put this vital tool back in our toolbox.
Controlled burning is the careful application of fire to the landscape during ideal environmental conditions of temperature, humidity, wind speed/direction, and fuel moisture, in order to safely consume the fine fuels (less than 3” diameter) that primarily carry wildfire. This use of fire goes far back into human history and continues today with modern fire management practices. It was a primary tool used by native cultures for thousands of years to reduce fuel loads, improve forage for game animals and provided for many other ecological benefits. Currently, wildland firefighters rely heavily on controlled burning in the form of “backfiring” operations to remove unburned fuel between control lines and the advancing flame front. In this way it is often fire, not water, which stops the spread of a wildfire. Federal agencies also use prescribed burning on public lands as the preferred tool to maintain safe fuel levels after mechanical fuel reduction has been performed.
The importance of increased prescribed burning to manage wildfire risk has been recognized in planning documents at the federal, regional, and local levels. Unfortunately, the use of controlled burning on private lands in the western United States has been relatively limited due to the complexity of planning, permitting, and liability concerns. At the Applegate Partnership we’re working to overcome those hurtles, and get useful fire back on the ground.
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We as a community need to be involved in bringing prescribed fire back into our landscape as a vital tool for the safety of our homes and the health of our forests.
If you are interested in using fire on your land, volunteering to learn about and impliment the use fire on the landscape, or just want to grow your understanding of fire as a management tool contact Aaron@apwc.info Please include a description of your interest so we can tailor our correspondance to your interests.
If you are interested in the use of prescribed fire as a management tool on your property, please fill out our digital form and send it our way!
6/19/19 Biochar Presentation
4th Thursday of each month, 6:30-8:30p
Applegate Library, North Applegate Road
contact Janelle Dunlevy
(No Nov./Dec. General Board Meetings)
2nd Wednesday of each month, 3-5p
Ruch Library or APWC Office, contact Janelle Dunlevy for more information
On hold until further notice.
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