Fire Ecology

Forest thinning projects won’t stop the worst wildfires

So why is California spending millions on them?

A recent Los Angeles Times project explores the effectiveness of firebreaks across California, with satelite and drone footage showing the devastation caused by recent firest, including the Camp fire in 2018. 

Post-conflagration photos of Paradise reveal row after row of houses reduced to heaps of ash, while nearby trees and vegetation stand green and largely untouched by flame. In the Camp fire, the primary fuel was houses, not vegetation.

Jack Cohen, a retired Forest Service research scientist who studied ignitions and wildfire spread, said he’s been asked to explain the “unusual pattern of destruction” in Paradise.

His response: “It’s not strange and unusual — it’s typical. Every investigation I’ve done comes up with that pattern.”

“We do fuel breaks because the premise is we’ve got a wildfire containment problem” when in fact, Cohen argues, we have a home ignition problem.

Until firefighting agencies recognize that, he said, their efforts are doomed to “further failure at ever increasing cost.”

Contribute

Geos Institute depends on the generous support of caring people who believe we can and must do a better job addressing climate change for our children and those who will follow.

Donate Now

Sign up to stay updated on our initiatives and receive information you can use to build resilience in your community.

Sign up for our eNews

About Us

Learn more about our parent organization, the Geos Insititute and their work on helping communities build climate resilience.

Contribute

Please give generously today.
Initiative of

© Geos Institute. All rights reserved. Forest Legacies is a program of Geos Institute.
Geos Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (EIN: 93-0880205)
Site developed and hosted by Rogue Web Works.

1 Percent for the Planet

84 Fourth St. Ashland OR 97520
© Geos Institute. All rights reserved.
Site developed and hosted by Rogue Web Works.

1 Percent for the Planet