prescribed fires pose little danger to forest ecology, study says
Fighting fire with fire has been given the green light by a new study of techniques used to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires. And with a rise in wildfires predicted in many parts of the country, researchers say controlled burns and other treatments to manage this risk should be stepped up.
The paper, published in the June issue of the peer-reviewed journal BioScience, and led by researchers at UC Berkeley, synthesizes 20 years of research throughout the country on the ecological impact of reducing forest wildfire risk through controlled burns and tree thinning. It comes as California braces for a potentially bad fire season, particularly in the southern Sierra where precipitation was half its normal level.
“We need to act, because climate change is making fire season longer, temperatures are going up, and that means more fire in many regions, particularly ones with a Mediterranean environment,” said lead author Scott Stephens, UC Berkeley associate professor of fire science.
The study authors, which included scientists from the U.S. Forest Service and six research universities in the