I was watching The Weather Channel the other day and was surprised to see a whole segment on the gaining popularity of prescribed fire. They said the reason for the massive wildfires in the west and the invasive species problem in the east is partly to blame by the absence of low intensity winter fires. It was explained how much of the N.American continent is naturally fire dependent. For too long we have listened to Smokey the bear and had the idea that all fire is bad. I truly believe the only way to control invasives in forests (at least in the south) is by this method. Herbicides simply are too costly and often don't work. I hope more is done to educate the public on this important issue in the future.
"Our forests are over grown"
I agree, I've always heard how much more wonderful the new growth of a forest area is after a fire.....The sequoia tree actually doesn't drop it's pinecone thus replanting it's self UNTIL there is a fire.
"Only you can prevent forest fires"....except most are caused by lightning, not much you can do about that
Out here they're more often started by people, sometimes accidentally and sometimes not. We don't really get thunderstorms here very often at all, and hardly ever in the summer which is when most of the fires happen so not too many lightning-triggered fires.
I totally believe you, but I doubt that in this suburban area(centralMD) we could ever get support for prescribed fire except in parklands, who have been doing a little , I think only with invasives control as the goal But the FD is busy here in spring with brush fires, it's inevitable. I think it would be very risky and manpower intensive to do prescribed burns around here.
Then again, some creative kids at the high school were doing their ownprescribed burns in the woods next to the school. the officials didn't seem to regard it as a favor.
Yes, it wouldn't really make sense unless it was a large area. Not much forests left in surbuban areas. I am working with the timber company who owns the pine forest that borders my property. The only way they can burn it is to go through my property, which I have to give them access to. They're main fallback is people complaining about the smoke.
Actaully, we are starting to work with property owners in our area to do small burns in urban forests. Our area is having signficant erosion problems because the soil in this area did not develop to withstand the heavy canopied forests that have developed (due to lack of fire) on the steep bluffs along the river systems.
I work for Hillsborough County, FL (that's Tampa basically), and our parks and rec people do prescribed burnes pretty frequently. They even post notices on their website so people are aware of when and where it will be happening. I guess I just assumed that most areas were doing this. Tampa is actually the lightning capital of this hemisphere, so I imagine before man came along there were fires on a fairly regular basis. As stated above, I've also read about plants that depend on regular fires for their existence.
The only ones who do presribed burns here are the lumber and paper companies that use mostly southern pines. I'd say the majority of the land here is owned by paper companies.
out in the rain today, I was contemplating whether we have artificially inflated the amount of mold and fungus around here, with the excess of rotting woodland material. I like fungus as much as the next guy(well , DG ) but sinus and allergy problems are rampant in this area.
here is a book suggested by Science magazine 13 OCT 2006 :
Wildfire :A Century of Failed Forest Policy
George Wuerthner, Ed.
Reddy the squirrel says, "Forest fires happen, be ready"