Fire in the west: It's no simple story

High Country News
By: , and 



As scientists who have long grappled with the complexities of fire history in the West, we take issue with Ray Ring’s overreaching storyline that the recent spate of stand-replacing forest fires reflects wholly natural processes operating across all Western landscapes (HCN, 5/26/03: A losing battle). Ring further asserts that the main driver of recent crown fires must be climatic change, and not the extraordinary fuel accumulations of the 20th century. If we want to cope with huge wildfires over the long term, Ring concludes, we should focus less on thinning our forests and more on cutting greenhouse gas emissions to curtail global warming.

We appreciate that Ring’s simple storyline was meant to be provocative. We insist, however, that the circumstances driving Western wildfires are actually quite varied and complex, involving interactions between climate and fuels.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fire in the west: It's no simple story
Series title High Country News
Volume 35
Issue 13
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher High Country News
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 1 p.
First page 21
Last page 21