Study: Prescribed Fire Does a Forest Good

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A new study, published in the journal Fire, indicates prescribed or controlled burns are an effective way to restore healthy forests and ecosystems but not enough of them are being implemented across the West where they are drastically needed.

“It’s really hard to convince people they should be doing more prescribed fire and even allocating money for that when you’ve got huge destructive wildfires every year,” Crystal Kolden, University of Idaho researcher, told the Los Angeles Times.

Kolden maintains that federal agencies are not helping the situation due to a hesitancy to implement prescribed burn activity in the West. She found the used of controlled burns plateaued or decreased from 1998 to 2018. The study also indicated federal money set aside for the prescribed fire work was “drastically depleted” because it was used to pay for fighting wildfires.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provides grant funding for prescribed burns and other habitat stewardship treatments as a means to enhance elk habitat and improve overall forest health. To date, RMEF has permanently protected or enhanced more than 7.6 million acres of elk habitat.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)