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Fighting fire with … what?

by Paul Fattig of the Medford Mail Tribune

Contrary to common belief, wildfires popping up in the dry forests of the West in recent years are not bigger and badder than those in the distant past. That is according to findings by scientists at the University of Wyoming at Laramie.

Based on studies of copious notes written by General Land Office surveyors around 1880 in Oregon, Colorado and Arizona, fire and landscape ecology professor William Baker and Mark Williams, who recently completed his doctorate in ecology at the university, conclude that many wildfires back in the day were as intense as those in the latter part of the 20th century and early 21st century. In addition to determining that more highly intense fires are not occurring now, they found much more forest diversity, in part from the areas having experienced a wide range of wildfire behavior over time, Baker told the Mail Tribune. MORE>

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This post was created as part of our past initiative Forest Legacies.

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