Wildfire in California: It’s Not Just About “Forest” Fires
The increase in the size and severity of wildfires in recent years gives us all pause, while at the same time motivating our search for strategies and actions to reduce the negative impacts of extreme fire. Significant attention in the past twenty years has been focused on unpacking the relationships between forest management and fire suppression. The effort has led to an understanding that restoring the fire regime is key to conserving frequent fire ecosystems types like mixed conifer and yellow pine forests and reducing fire risk. Less attention has been placed on other plant community types, like woodlands, chaparral, and grasslands. Read more
Image above: Wildflowers bloom in mass after the 2007 Witch Creek Fire, San Diego, CA. By Chaparralian, CC BY-SA 4.0
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are initiating emergency actions to protect giant sequoias from the threats posed by high-intensity wildfire. Park staff will remove and reduce dense vegetation and other potential fire fuel sources in and around eleven giant sequoia groves that are especially at risk. The work will include manual thinning by hand, and later burning piles of cut vegetation and dead wood, and later using prescribed fire in areas that were initially thinned by hand. Most of these groves are in remote locations. Read more
Image right: NPS personnel clearing fuel from around the base of giant sequoias
Lewis's Woodpecker populations have declined by approximately 48 percent between 1968 and 2019, according to North American Breeding Bird Survey. Due to their declining population, Partners in Flight rates them 15 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, placing them on the Yellow Watch List for birds most at risk of extinction without significant conservation actions to reverse declines and reduce threats. The current estimated global breeding population according to Partners in Flight is 82,000 individuals. Lewis's Woodpeckers are threatened by changing forest conditions as a result of fire suppression, grazing, and logging, which often result in higher densities of single age pines and fewer standing dead or decaying trees available for nesting. Read more
Image above: Lewis's Woodpecker by Kevin L. Cole (c) 2009.
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