Fire ecology prof: We’d better get used to this

Fire

inciweb.com

Smoke from the Rice Ridge fire, photographed last month, had produced fine-particulate readings in Seeley Lake that were above anything ever recorded in Missoula County.

As a follow-up to our recent story about “Land on Fire,” Gary Ferguson’s new book, here’s an interesting interview with Philip Higuera, a professor of fire ecology at the University of Montana.

In no-nonsense terms, he talks about drought, the traditional role of fires in forest ecosystems, the advisability of tree-thinning to prevent fires, climate change and “good” and “bad” fires.

Here’s one good example of his way of thinking, in response to the question of whether should be building houses in what as known as the wildland-urban interface:

“Every place on our planet has some natural phenomenon that is not friendly to humans. If you live on the East Coast, you are going to experience hurricanes. If you live in the Midwest, you are going to experience tornadoes. If you live across forested regions in the West, you are going to experience wildfires. We need to develop in a way that is cognizant of these processes—that is not ignorant of the way the planet, and the environment you live in, works.”

The whole thing is well worth a read.

Comments are closed.