Wildfires burning throughout the west are forcing homeowners, community leaders and wildfire experts to consider how these blazes are destroying not only personal property, but larger landscapes as well. To help communities rethink current wildfire management strategies, a presentation entitled “Era of Megafires” is touring Utah this week.
“I love the landscape that I study and some big changes are a foot," said Paul Hessburg, a research landscape ecologist with the United States Forest Service and the presenter for "Era of Megafires."
“If we don’t change some of our fire management habits pretty soon, we’re going to lose a lot more of these landscapes," Hessburg said. "And to me, that means there is a lot at stake there and I think people ought to know about it.”
One way to better manage fires, Hessburg said, is through a cohesive wildland fire management strategy.
This strategy consists of building fire resistant landscapes by managing fuels and developing fire adapted communities, where people do things like use fire resistant roofing and put screens on their vents.
“When you put these things all together, it gives firefighters a heck of a leg up in being able to stop fires from damaging or destroying houses, neighborhoods and communities," Hessburg said. "And it gives homeowners the ability to personally take responsibility and get things ready before the fires come.”
Hessburg said there is not one fire management solution that will work for all communities. He hopes presentations in Park City, Logan and Cedar City will at least encourage people to decide what their community can do to help preserve the landscape.