April 10, 2020
In the realm of wildfire there are many contentious issues, people do not always agree with the way wildfires are handled, whether that is before they are started, while they are burning, or after they have happened. The three issues I decided to learn more about this week are salvage logging, letting some natural fires burn, and the safety of firefighters.
The Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013 was tragic and took the lives of 19 firefighters. This fire really brought the dangers that these firefighters are putting themselves in to save cities, towns, property and people. The video really detailed the tragic event that happened as these firefighters were trying to save the town of Yarnell. It made people see the dangers that these firefighters are experiencing trying to save these areas within the wildland urban interface, and it made firefighter safety more of a priority.
Video: America Burning: The Yarnell Hill Tragedy and the Nation’s Wildfire Crisis
The video that focused on the 204 Cow Fire really emphasized the success they had letting a lightening fire burn rather than suppressing it. This naturally caused fire was started in mild weather conditions, in a remote area, putting firefighters in there would have been a risk so they decided to let the fire run its course since the burning conditions were mild. The burn was successful, it improved the forest health and reduced the fuels; it burned over large are with a gentle footprint and a good mix of severity. This fire was a good example for many land managers, due to the success they had and the benefits that came from letting it burn. The Yellowstone Fires of 1988 were a very bad example of letting natural fires burn, so the success of this fire was critical to the perception of this method
Video: Cow Fire: Proactive Fire Management in Action
Salvage logging is something that is controversial, but the video I watched really highlighted the benefits that come from it. Many of the benefits mentioned were focused on economics rather than the ecosystem. Salvage logging provides an economic boost to many of the surrounding small towns that rely on this revenue. The revenue provided from salvage logging can also fund future treatments such as road maintenance, brush disposal, and prescribed burning. Reducing hazards is another benefit of salvage logging, particularly around roads and recreation areas. As far as ecological benefits salvage logging can expose the soil from underneath the ash, making these areas more susceptible to natural regeneration.
Video: Pioneer Fire Salvage on the Boise National Forest