Wildfire season in the Northwest started early this year. Crews recently subdued the 5,345-acre Buckskin fire near southern Oregon’s Illinois Valley. The Buckskin fire is called a “reburn” because it’s on land that was scorched by wildfire in the recent past. These reburns are a positive indication that the forests are recovering from decades of fire suppression.
The Pacific Crest Trail was already a popular place to take a hike, long or short. Then the movie "Wild" and other events focused more attention on the trail, adding to its mystique. But the mystique can't correct hot and dry conditions with potentially little water available--the conditions of this summer. The Pacific Crest Trail Association manages sections of the PCT. And trail managers are bracing for issues created by the drought and earlier-than-usual summer heat.
Fire season has already begun, with the usual discussions of which fires are burning where, and how big. Scientist Dominick DellaSala of the GEOS Institute is less concerned with individual fires than with the overall approach to wildfire. We know fire is a normal part of life processes in any forest. But it may be that even the more intense fires--the ones often labeled "catastrophic"--are natural and necessary.