Everything you wanted to know about wildland forest fires but were afraid to ask

Regrowth after a high-severity forest fire. The past three decades of science that has found fires, including large high-severity fires, are an ecologically essential part of forest ecosystems and create highly biodiverse wildlife habitat.

A team of fire ecologists released a report this week titled “Everything You Wanted To Know About Wildland Fires” summarizing the state of knowledge about forest fires on public lands. This report comes just days after the US Congress passed the Wildfire Suppression Funding and Forest Management Activities Act as part of the federal omnibus … Read more

Post-fire Logging, But Not Severe Fire, Harms Spotted Owls

Spotted Owl in a severely burned forest.

Wildlife ecologists studying the rare spotted owl in the forests of California have discovered that large, intense wildfires are not responsible for abandonment of breeding territories. Instead, the researchers found that post-fire logging operations, which are common on both private and National Forest lands, most likely caused declines in territory occupancy of this imperiled wildlife … Read more

New Documentary Gives Smokey Bear A New, Positive Message About Forest Fire

A black-backed woddpecker emerges from his nest cavity in a severely-burned forest patch created by the Sugarloaf Fire of California.

A new video documentary released this week describes the important positive ecological effects of high-severity forest fires. High-severity forest fires, also called stand-replacing or crown fires, create rare and important wildlife habitat, and many species of plants and animals reach their highest abundances only in these blackened ‘snag forests’. Fear of high-severity forest fires is … Read more

The Science of Forest Fire and Spotted Owls

Spotted Owl in a severely burned forest.

Fifteen years of research about severely burned Snag Forests in the western U.S.A. and their important value as wildlife habitat and ecological services has produced a healthy body of scientific literature. These papers, and others, have opened the eyes of many to the now-obvious fact that burned forests create wildlife habitat and even old growth … Read more

Proposed Forest Thinning Will Sabotage Natural Forest Climate Adaptation and Resistance to Drought, Fire, and Insect Outbreaks

The USDA Forest Service is proposing widespread forest thinning on our public lands across the West in a misguided attempt to reduce the impact of drought, fire, and insects (see National Forest Restoration Projects, Sierra Nevada National Forest Land Management Plan Revisions, news articles). These logging schemes are the latest in a series of Forest … Read more