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Oregon Burning


The fires in the West are so depressing. The specific areas of Oregon that are burning–the McKenzie River valley especially, but also the Opal Creek Wilderness–these are my favorite places on earth. I will never again be able to hike in the same way when I visit my home. Honestly, this is way more depressing than being attacked in right-wing media and getting new rounds of death threats every hour. Those are wet forests. They are not supposed to burn like this. But the combination of climate change, too many people living in the forest, a freak weather occurrence, and a century of fire suppression that has made for unhealthy forests has led us to this point. That the fire on the McKenzie that has effectively destroyed the towns of Blue River and Vida started right at the settlement of Rainbow suggests it was almost certainly some idiot. Meanwhile, my parents can’t go outside because the smoke is worse than Beijing on a bad day. The reality is that it is going to take a century or so to reconstruct healthy forests, assuming it is possible with climate change. They are all going to have to burn and then regrow in a natural manner with fire as part of their natural ecosystem balance that is not suppressed. Let’s just say I am not confident in Americans actually doing this.

This is a very good thread on the fire ecology of western forests and what is necessary in the future. Not a real happy thread. But it’s right on.

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