In 2015 nearly 9 million forest acres burned in the United States and because of the climate change and drought, wildfires could get even worse.
Jerry Franklin, a professor of Ecosystem Analysis at the College of Forest Resources, University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, gave suggestions as to how the forest fire management could lower the impact that the wildfires would have in the future.
“We need to change our policies to recognize the use of more prescribed and natural fire to deal with the conditions we’re seeing in our forests today as well as to greatly accelerate restoration of more resilient conditions in accessible forests that have been dramatically altered over the past century,” said Franklin.
It is known that forests often experience fires of low-intensity, which prevent the increase of the forest density. According to Franklin, in the case of a wildfire the U.S. Forest Service always sends fire fighters to the scene in order to put the fire out. In some cases the fire should be let to burn out naturally under close observance, Franklin added.
Nearly 900,000 forest acres have burned in the eastern areas of Washington state this summer, most of which were in a region that was known to have numerous low-intensity fires. In the west, the forests are usually wetter which makes it almost impossible for wildfires to start there.
In the United States, about 98 percent of the wildfires are extinguished before reaching an approximate number of 300 acres. Franklin says that surprisingly, the 2 percent of the fires that are not put out account for 97 percent of fire fighting costs. That imbalance is encouraged by the funding structure for the fire management, adds Franklin.
The Forest Service as well as the newly released National Cohesive Wild land Fire Management Strategy are making huge efforts to improve the national forest plans. Within the next ten years, almost 155 of the national forests in the United States will come up with new strategies and will hold public forums in order to solve the existing problem.
As of late, the public is also pressuring federal and state agencies to improve the way they manage forests and wildfires.
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