Forest Fire Ecology

“Forests in the western US burn. Its what they have always done. It’s what they are supposed to do.” ~Pam Knowles

For those of us who live in the West, forest fires are a way of life. While they can cause enormous amounts of damage by human standards, they are an integral and necessary part of the western ecosystem.

By putting out every fire that we could in the past, we allowed litter to build up, dead trees to stay, encouraged large pieces of land to have even aged stands of trees susceptible to insect kills, etc. Then, when the fire does eventually go (and it WILL eventually burn), the fires burn hot and fast and it is not possible to put them out. They burn so hot that they sterilize the soil, kill all of the old seed trees who would normally withstand a smaller, less intense fire, and set the land up for vast areas of erosion and difficulty in regenerating new growth. So we perpetuate the problem.

Join us as we hike through areas recovering from fires as well as areas that will burn soon, and walk away with a better understanding of what forest fires are, what they really do, how plants have learned to live with them and why we need to do the same.