“Each year, foresters here thin out trees, clear brush and light fires like this to burn off fuels and lower the risk of large, uncontrollable wildfires. This commitment to the full suite of fuel treatments — especially burning – has helped make the Deschutes National Forest a model and a success story in the effort to reduce fuel loads and lower the risk of wildfire.
But getting these acres burned is no easy task, and across the West, foresters are falling short of what they need to do with fire as a tool. That leaves many efforts to treat fuels incomplete. Fire scientists say that’s a problem.
A century of aggressive fire suppression left forests dense with too many trees, too much brush and too many dried-out leaves, twigs and needles. Combined with hotter and drier weather, those overloaded forests stoked a new era of extreme fire.”