How Fighting Wildfires Makes Them Worse

How Fighting Wildfires Makes Them Worse

Today’s wildfires burn, on average, twice the amount of land they did in 1970. The reason? We’ve been working too hard to put them out.

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Want to learn more about the topic in this week’s video? Here’s a keyword/phrase to get your googling started:
fuel ladder

Credits (& Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Peter Reich
Script Editor: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Illustrator: Ever Salazar (@eversalazar)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Director: Henry Reich (@minutephysics)
With contributions from: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida) & Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:

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M.A. Finney, C.W. McHugh, and I.C. Grenfell. Stand- and landscape-level effects of prescribed burning on two Arizona wildfires. Can. J. For. Res. 35: 1714–1722 (2005)

North, M.P., B.M. Collins, and S.L. Stephens. 2012. Using fire to increase the scale, benefits and future maintenance of fuels treatments. Journal of Forestry 110(7):392-401.

Prichard SJ, Peterson DL, Jacobson K (2010) Fuel treatments reduce the severity of wildfire effects in dry mixed conifer forest, Washington, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40, 1615–1626. doi:10.1139/X10-109

Stephens, S.L., J.D. McIver, R.E.J. Boerner, C.J. Fettig, J.B. Fontaine, B.R. Hartsough, P. Kennedy, and D.W. Schwilk. 2012. Effects of forest fuel reduction treatments in the United States. BioScience 62:549-560.

Stephens, S.L., J.K. Agee, P.Z Fulé, M.P. North, W.H. Romme, T.W. Swetnam, and M.G. Turner. 2013. Managing forests and fire in changing climates. Science 342:41-42.

Image Credits:

2002 Rodeo Fire Satellite Image by Landsat 7
2006 Tripod Complex Fires and Fuel Treatment photos by:
National Interagency Fire Center –
Susan Prichard –

Thanks also to Eli Anoszko, Mark Finney, Lee Frelich, Matt Hurteau, Dave Peterson, Susan Prichard, & Scott Stephens

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