In Rim Fire’s wake, lessons for saving our forests ~Barry Bergman, UC Berkeley

Posted on October 17, 2013 By

In late July, UC Berkeley fire ecologist Scott Stephens was working in Stanislaus National Forest, gathering data on how a century had altered its character. What he saw were the signs of a clear and present danger. “The thing that was startling was that there was more change than I ever would have imagined,” recalls Stephens, a professor of fire science who devotes much of his time to field research. “I remember thinking, ‘Boy, this place is really susceptible to high-severity fire.’”

The Rim Fire, to Stephens’ distress, confirms the most urgent finding from decades of research. As he and his co-authors wrote in a paper published this month in Science,Fire policy that focuses on suppression only delays the inevitable, promising more dangerous and destructive future fires.” Read more.

A firefighter from Ebbetts Pass Fire District monitors a back fire as he battles the Rim Fire in Groveland, on August 21, 2013. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) ~Atlantic Magazine

A firefighter from Ebbetts Pass Fire District monitors a back fire as he battles the Rim Fire in Groveland, on August 21, 2013. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) ~Courtesy The Atlantic

InciWeb Fire Update: [As of 7 days ago] The Rim fire is now being managed by the Groveland and Mi-Wok Ranger Districts on the Stanislaus National Forest. Minimal fire spread is expected over the next week. There is one 800-1000 acre pocket of vegetation near Kibbie Lake that remains with a potential to burn. Resources will continue to patrol and mop-up while continuing to implement the suppression repair plan. Commercial recreation along the Tuolumne and Clavey Rivers continues to be impacted. The developed areas of Hetch-Hetchy remain evacuated. Read More.

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