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Press Release – June 2023

With so many recent “#RxBurns”, we’ve had lots of questions regarding why we prescribe fire to the landscape. We utilize these burns to restore our forests to healthier conditions and reduce the risk that extreme fire behavior poses to our communities. Fire plays an important ecological role across the wildlands of the United States and smoke is a byproduct of fire and part of living in the Southwest.

Fire officials are concerned about the potential health impacts of smoke on both the public and responders. Affected communities should remain aware of smoke advisories and conditions. It is recommended that sensitive individuals consult their healthcare provider for appropriate protective measures.

𝐁𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐝 𝐁𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠:

  • Reduces forest fuel build-up by naturally thinning overcrowded forests. Thinned forests can recover faster and are more resistant to insect and disease attacks. Currently, many of the mature forests are overcrowded, resulting in a lack of vigor and health.
  • Dead wood, overcrowded, unhealthy trees, and thick layers of pine needles can all contribute to catastrophic wildfires including crown fires. Prescribed burns help get rid of these fuels.
  • Prepares the land for new growth and helps certain plants/trees germinate. When excess vegetation or needle layers are burned off, nitrogen and other nutrients are released into the soil and become available for new plants to grow.
  • Many native plant and forest communities have adapted to fire for their germination and growth. Seed contact with soil (such as that exposed by a fire) is necessary for some species to naturally regenerate.
  • Fire provides diverse habitat for plants and animals. Grazing wildlife such as Elk and Deer benefit from new growth as shrubs produce edible leaves when re-sprouting after a fire.
  • Prescribed burns help protect communities from severe wildfires by creating buffer zones and areas where an out-of-control wildfire might be stopped due to lack of forest fuels.