Let It Burn..... Or Not. Fire is Inherently Good, Until it Isn't.
A conversation about letting fires "do their thing".
Every Friday on the Podcast we discuss how many fires in the Nation are being allowed to “do their thing”. When you hear this it means the fire is being allowed to naturally burn through an area to provide resource benefit. Another phrase you’ll hear is, we are using this new start for “fire use”. When fires are allowed to do this there can be many misconceptions, worry, and things can even get squirrelly. However, this is a very effective way to keep forests healthy.
This terminology is widely used in the industry. You’ll hear “she’s doing good work” or “she’s doing nothing but good”. Why do we describe fires as women? I don’t actually know, but I have some thoughts on it. Fire can be warm and comforting. Fire can support growth. Fire can “carry” and provides a “new birth” for the forest. Fire might also turn on you with a vengeance, like a fierce eyed woman can. Fire can dance into the night and mesmerize all who are watching. Simply put, fire is a womanly force. Now… I would describe the natural phenomenon of an avalanche as a man.
Back to the topic at hand. There are now 103 fires burning in the Nation for “resource benefit” or being allowed to “do their thing”. There are many people who believe all fire on the landscape is bad. This is simply not true. Fire is good, until it isn’t. If naturally caused fires are well managed it should be done. If prescribed burns can be done well, it should be allowed.
This does not include arson fires and human caused fires. I still stand by my previous statements on arsonists. Tar and Feather… or at least the public stocks. A few local folks reached out to me after the Oak Fire started in California the other day and said the road it started on had a “fire bug”. I was told there were 3 fires off that road this week. If you don’t know a “fire bug” is terminology used to describe an arsonist. The worst type of people.
When it comes to lighting caused fire though, let’s discuss. Right now a couple of the most notable “fire use” incidents are the Dragon and the Woodtick fires. One can even make the argument that the Black Fire in New Mexico this Spring was actually used for that, but we wont go there right now. Multiple incidents in Alaska were, and still are being allowed to burn to benefit the landscape.
Now this is where it can get tricky. Different resource fires can have different issues with them. For example, The Dragon Fire is in
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