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Monster Wildfires Show Benefits of Years of Forest Management Efforts: NPR

Tankers will drop a retarder on Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon on Saturday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP


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Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

Tankers will drop a retarder on Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon on Saturday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

Portland, Oregon — A vast wetland and forest ecologist in remote Oregon has spent the last decade. Thinning of young trees and planned use of fire Trying to restore the thick stands of Ponderosa to a state of less fire.

This week, the country’s largest wildfire provided them with an unexpected real-world experiment.As Large inferno Half the size of Rhode Island roared in the Sikan Wetland Reserve, and firefighters said the flames were less likely to bounce from the top of the tree to the top of the tree and instead returned to the ground.

Pete Caligiuri, director of the Oregon Forest Program at The Nature Conservancy, who studies in the reserve, initially suggests that long-standing forest treatment has worked.

“Generally speaking, firefighters reported on the ground that when a fire broke out in a diminished area, it had much less impact.”

The report was bittersweet for researchers who still saw burns in a reserve of nearly 20 square miles, but the findings show a wildfire explosion by thinning undergrowth and regularly burning forests. In addition to increasing research on how to reduce. Do — Instead of extinguishing all the flames.

Bootleg Fire is burning in the background behind Sycan Marsh. Bootleg Fire is one of the largest fires in modern Oregon history.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP


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Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

Bootleg Fire is burning in the background behind Sycan Marsh. Bootleg Fire is one of the largest fires in modern Oregon history.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

Today, 606 square miles (1,569 square kilometers), the Bootleg Fire has hit southern Oregon and is the fourth largest fire in the state’s modern history. Pushed by gusts and extremely dry weather, it expanded up to 4 miles (6 km) per day, turning trees and undergrowth into tinderboxes.

Fireballs jump from the top of the tree to the top of the tree, the tree explodes, the embers fly in front of the fire and create new flames, and in some cases the heat of Inferno creates a unique weather that changes the wind. The squad had to withdraw from the flames for 10 consecutive days, Dry Lightning said. Huge clouds of smoke and ash rise up to 6 miles into the sky and are visible for over 100 miles.

On Tuesday, a fire in the Fremont-Winma National Forest merged with a small flame nearby and repeatedly broke around treeless soil and flame retardants aimed at stopping its advance.

Further evacuation was ordered on Monday night, and a red flag weather warning was issued to indicate a dangerous fire condition until Tuesday. The fire is 30% contained.

A pillar of smoke rises from the Bootleg Fire on Sunday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP


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Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

A pillar of smoke rises from the Bootleg Fire on Sunday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

Incident Commander Rob Allen said on Tuesday, “We are participating in this as long as it takes to safely contain this monster.”

At one point in the fire, at least 2,000 homes were evacuated and another 5,000 were threatened. At least 70 homes and more than 100 annexes were on fire. Heavy smoke chokes areas where inhabitants and wildlife have already coped with months of drought and extreme heat as well. No one is dead.

Bootleg Fire is one of many burning fires in 12 states, most of which occurred in the west. On Monday, 16 major uncontained fires broke out in Oregon and Washington alone.

Historically, wildfires in Oregon and elsewhere in the western United States have burned areas as good as or better than current flames more often, but with much less explosiveness. Regular, spontaneous fires have wiped out the undergrowth and small trees that cause today’s fires to burn so dangerously.

James Johnston, a researcher at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry, who studies historic wildfires, said these fires have not been allowed to burn for the past 120 years.

The northeastern area of ​​Bootleg Fire is in the Klamath tribes’ homeland, which used deliberately controlled fires to keep fuel loads low and prevent such explosive flames. Scientists at the Sican Marsh Institute are now working with tribes to harness that knowledge.

According to Johnston, climate change has triggered a deterioration in the western wildfire season, but poor forest management and decades of firefighting policies have exacerbated the situation.

The Bootleg Fire is burning behind heavy equipment at the Mitchell Monument in southern Oregon on Saturday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP


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The Bootleg Fire is burning behind heavy equipment at the Mitchell Monument in southern Oregon on Saturday.

Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP

“My colleagues and I have predicted large-scale fires in the area for years. It’s a very catastrophic area,” said Sican Marsh. Not Johnston said. “It’s dry. It’s prone to fires and it’s always the case. But what has changed over the last 100 years is an extraordinary amount of fuel buildup.”

Elsewhere, the fire brigade was engaged in other difficult battles.

In Northern California, authorities expanded the evacuation of the Tamarack fire in Alpine County in the Sierra Nevada Mountains late Monday, including the mountain town of Mesavista. The fire that exploded over the weekend was 61 square miles (158 square kilometers) uncontained.

To the west of Sierra, a Dixie fire burns 63 square miles (163 square kilometers), threatening a small community in the Feather River Valley region.

Meteorologist Julia Russford told the briefing that the monsoon’s surge in humidity from the southwest increased atmospheric instability on Sundays and Mondays, creating a plume of more than six miles.

For the past two days in Oregon, the fire has danced around Sikan Marsh. There, researchers competed with sprinklers to protect the building with fire lines. The 47-square-mile habitat attracts migrating and nesting birds and provides a unique place to study the ecology of forests and fires.

Nonprofits operate their own fire trucks and maintain federal firefighting certification. Currently, three proprietary engines and seven firefighters are on fire, and more people are arriving from North Carolina and Florida in an attempt to save the reserve.

“It’s a great place,” Caligiuri said. “It’s very hard to see everything happening, and seeing all that work threatened by this fire has a lot to handle.”

Monster Wildfires Show Benefits of Years of Forest Management Efforts: NPR

Source link Monster Wildfires Show Benefits of Years of Forest Management Efforts: NPR

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