Managing Forests for Fires

Managing Forests for FiresAmbience: FireIf you’re living in or near a forest, you’ve got to plan for the likelihood of fire. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Coates: . So it’s easy for us to think of all fires as being bad and as all fires being wildfires. What we do a lot as forest managers is we will use a proscribed burn under controlled conditions when we deem circumstances worthy of having this activity on the landscape. We will intentionally burn material to reduce wildfire hazard, and in some cases, to promote species that are fire adapted.Adam Coates is an assistant professor of Forest Fire Ecology and Management at Virginia Tech. He says that proscribed controlled fires also have an impact on the amount of toxic particles that would be released in the smoke of a wildfire.Coates: So proscribed fire, from a lot of the work that we have done, we see improvements and reduction of fuel material that could ignite during a wildfire, but we also see that there are reduction of material that could become this particulate matter.So for folks that want to live in the woods, I think that’s a great desire to have, but understand that fire has been a part of how our natural systems have been formed long term. So as we build our homes, we should be pretty wise to build with materials that tend to be less conducive to fire. We can also plant materials that tend to be less volatile and less likely to combust, making sure that we have water sources close to our homes, that there are appropriate fire hydrants that are there. More information about that can be found online if you actually look for fire wise communities or fire adapted communities, how we build more communities with fire in mind. Not that we can totally keep it away, but you can be more cognizant that is a part of many of our natural systems.Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation.

Managing Forests for Fires

Proscribed burns have an impact on the amount of toxic particles released in the smoke of a wildfire.
Air Date:01/15/2019
Scientist:
Transcript:

Managing Forests for FiresAmbience: FireIf you're living in or near a forest, you've got to plan for the likelihood of fire. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Coates: . So it's easy for us to think of all fires as being bad and as all fires being wildfires. What we do a lot as forest managers is we will use a proscribed burn under controlled conditions when we deem circumstances worthy of having this activity on the landscape. We will intentionally burn material to reduce wildfire hazard, and in some cases, to promote species that are fire adapted.Adam Coates is an assistant professor of Forest Fire Ecology and Management at Virginia Tech. He says that proscribed controlled fires also have an impact on the amount of toxic particles that would be released in the smoke of a wildfire.Coates: So proscribed fire, from a lot of the work that we have done, we see improvements and reduction of fuel material that could ignite during a wildfire, but we also see that there are reduction of material that could become this particulate matter.So for folks that want to live in the woods, I think that's a great desire to have, but understand that fire has been a part of how our natural systems have been formed long term. So as we build our homes, we should be pretty wise to build with materials that tend to be less conducive to fire. We can also plant materials that tend to be less volatile and less likely to combust, making sure that we have water sources close to our homes, that there are appropriate fire hydrants that are there. More information about that can be found online if you actually look for fire wise communities or fire adapted communities, how we build more communities with fire in mind. Not that we can totally keep it away, but you can be more cognizant that is a part of many of our natural systems.Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation.