Lessons Of The Pacific Northwest Wildfires

Sep 15, 2020

The West Coast is facing some of the worst wildfires in its history. We take a look at the role of forest management in helping control these fires.


Monica Samayoa, environment reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting. (@m0nica10)

John Bailey, professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. (@COFOregonState)

Gov. Jay Inslee, governor of Washington state. (@GovInslee)

From The Reading List

OPB: “Wildfires could raise temperatures, cause algae blooms in Oregon watersheds” — “Water supply and quality seems to be mostly unharmed in parts of Oregon affected by ongoing wildfires, though some of the hardest hit counties are asking residents to reduce their water use.”

Washington Post: “Bad forest policies and political indifference kindled Oregon’s wildfires” — “Oregon is burning, literally and figuratively. Fire ripped through a million acres in just three days — the equivalent of the entire state of Rhode Island wiped off the map.”

New York Times: “Native Solutions to Big Fires” — “Bill Tripp learned to burn when he was 4 years old. In an Indian community along a bend in the Salmon River in the northwest corner of California, Mr. Tripp absorbed traditional burning techniques from his great-grandmother, who was born in the late 1800s and was a repository of knowledge on where and when to burn.”

The Hill: “Oregon senator says Trump’s blame on ‘forest management’ for wildfires is ‘just a big and devastating lie'” — “Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Sunday that President Trump blaming ‘forest management’ for wildfires is ‘just a bid and devastating lie.'”

PRI: “California and Australia look to Indigenous land management for fire help” — “After years of advocacy work, cultural burning practitioners had a win in Australia last week, when the government of New South Wales, the state hit hardest by last year’s catastrophic bushfires, formally accepted a recommendation for an increase in cultural burning as part of their fire management strategy.”

KATU: “Lack of forest management allowed ‘fuels to accumulate’, expert says” — “A big question a lot of people have — did the fires have to be this bad? Some experts told KATU that better land management outside of fire season could have prevented the fires from spreading so rapidly through dense woods.”

OPB: “In Clackamas County, fire-threatened residents find their own ways to face danger” — “Officials in Clackamas County expanded the evacuation zone Wednesday as four major wildfires continued gaining ground in the county.”

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