Wildfires And Its Effects On The Environment

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Ecosystems in California have been experiencing increasingly intense fire seasons since 2012 (Yoon et al. 2015). The climate of a lot of area in California is ideal for fires to be extreme. With climate change increasing the intensity and amount of fire weather, we as humans must take new approaches to fire suppression in order to keep up. Prescribed burning is a technique we can use to reduce some of the most extreme qualities of wildfires. 1.1 Prescribed burning Prescribed burning is the controlled use of fire to reduce wildfire fuel to prevent future fires (Rogers 2015, Kilgore 1973, Casals et al. 2015, Agee and Skinner 2005, Lepine 2004, Winford et al. 2015, Schmidt et al. 2007), restore productivity and succession in an ecosystem, reduce intensity of future fires (Rogers 2015, Kilgore 1973), and promote certain species (Rogers 2015). Reducing the fuel in an ecosystem disrupts horizontal and vertical continuity of fuel for fire and will apply in reduction of future fire severity (Casals et al. 2015 and Agee and Skinner 2005). Applying prescription fire to ecosystems is an effective and sustainable method of fire suppression. 1.1.1 Methods of prescribed burning Different methods of prescription burning have different levels of effectiveness, intensity, and cost. When a prescription burn is done after a clearcut logging the fuel can be organized into piles or windrows to be more effective and less damaging but less cost-efficient, or they can conduct a broadcast burn. Broadcast burning is when the fuel following a clearcut is left where it was, without organization (Agee and Skinner 2005), broadcast burning is more likely to result in escaped fire (Lepine 2004). When a burn is applied after a clearcut its pur... ... middle of paper ... ...e immediate surrounding area to kill the tree (Williams 2003). This can be seen as evidence that prescribed burning is effective since it has been used for so many centuries by a different culture. 2.2.2 Modern uses of burning in agriculture Using prescribed burning in agriculture is in some ways similar to the uses of the Native-Americans. One agricultural practice that has been used by many tropical cultures for centuries and is still used today is slash-and-burn. It is used to refresh a field that is decreasing in productivity. Slash-and-burn has some negative effects on both productivity and the health of the environment (Onokpise 2014). When prescribed burning is used on forests, surrounding pastures are safer from wildfire as well. This can lead to an increase in pastoral availability and increases the carrying capacity of livestock. (Skroblin et al. 2014)

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