Burn Back Better

Source: Property and Environment Research Center
by Jonathan Wood & Morgan Varner

“For millennia, Indigenous communities managed forests in the American West with fire to produce a range of environmental and cultural benefits. This long history of cultural burning combined with frequent lightning produced fire-adapted forests, woodlands, and savannas. For more than a century, however, the federal government and states pursued an aggressive policy of fire suppression that effectively removed fire from the landscape. While this policy has mostly been abandoned, its effects linger in the form of overgrown forests, policy barriers, and cultural obstacles to restoring beneficial low-intensity fires at the scale needed to improve forest resilience and reduce wildfire risks. The growing wildfire crisis makes this need to restore ‘good fire’ all the more urgent.” (01/10/23)