PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Wildfire season is fast approaching, and experts are trying to determine the best way to prepare.
Wildfire scientists, land managers and policy leaders from across the west gathered at the World Forestry Center Friday for Fire Summit 2018, where they discussed the best ways to limit future fire catastrophes.
“The challenge that we have is that we are not going to fix this problem any time soon,” said Dennis Becker, the Director of the Policy Analysis Group at the University of Idaho.
The consensus among the experts is that a cultural shift is needed to prevent the intensity of fires from getting worse. People are afraid of fire, for obvious reasons, and that’s led to a century of a century of putting out fires too soon.
“Fire has been a part of this landscape, and the reason we have a problem now is because we tried to put fire out,” said Nicole Strong, Extension Forester for the University of Oregon State – Central Oregon.
The hope is to get communities to understand the benefits fire can provide, when allowed to burn safely and within reason. Doing so would limit the intensity of future fires.
Still, there’s no silver bullet to reducing the danger. It will take a combination of actions, like prescribed burns and mechanical thinning, all customized to each individual area. Experts refer to it is cross-jurisdictional response planning.
“It's the old rain bucket analogy,” Becker said. “It takes a lot of raindrops to fill a bucket, and we need every one of those raindrops. We need every one of those activities, working together across that landscape, to fill that bucket up.”
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