The Healthy Watershed and Fire Adapted communities forum, held at the Sierra Nevada big room on September 22, 2016, went off without a hitch. Introductions started with Marlene Fune of the Forest Ranch Fire Safe Council. She is the contact person for the Fire Safe Council, she’s available for questions every third Wednesday of each month: 6:00 pm. Following was a short film by The Filmmakers Collaborative SF called, The Fire Next Time, (Watch it on Vimeo by clicking the link below). Forum continued with John Amodio of the Tuolume River Trust, Don Hankins from CSU, Ursula Parker from the Butte County Air Quality Management District, Nick Goulettte of North California Prescribed Fire Council, Jeremey Bailey, Will Harling, Holly Jorgensen and more. Although they came from many different foundations they all shared a common set of goals.
The main goal is to push the positive idea of fire, and get prescribed burning to become a regular thing, but we need public support. It’s better for the forest, the communities, the watersheds and in preparation for climate change. The controlled fires will help rejuvenate the forest. John Amodio talked about the Rim fire and said ‘…the rim fire alone set us back 2 ½ years in emission pollution.’
“The forest is directly related to climate change” said Don Hankins of CSU. There were concerns about the intensity of wildfires due to the amount of small trees and shrubbery as well as the Bark Beetle infestation which killed off 29 million trees, setting us back 10 years in greenhouse gases as the trees die and decompose. With the current way things are going Ursula Parker says, wildfires cost up to 1.25 billion dollars annually and by 2050 the cost will increase to 1.85 billion, because as the area expands so does the cost. Climate change is estimated to increase 50%-100% by 2050, this causes the temperatures to rise and the fire season to be two months longer.
The biggest issue of all was stated by Will Harling of Mid Klamath Watershed Council, he said, ‘in the last 5 years 40% of our watershed has burned’. He began to tear up as he spoke about the Coho salmon habitat that burned up in one afternoon. In the last decade 98+% of fires were un-suppressed and it’s ruining our wildlife.
Political funds are tied up in other endeavors, so The Sacrament Watershed program, Terra Fuego Resource Foundation, the Forest Ranch Fire Safe Council, and many others are asking for the support of the local communities to help fund and implement prescribed fires.
By eliminating the small trees and brush and burning areas in a controlled setting we can rejuvenate our forests. It will Reduce hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires; It will minimizes the spread of pest insects and disease; Remove unwanted species that threaten species native to the ecosystem; Provide forage for game; Improve habitat for threatened and endangered species; Recycles nutrients back to the soil; And promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers, and other plants.(http://www.fs.fed.us).
All we need is your support!