Calm down about beetle-killed forests
Bill Gabbert in New West (US): …Sometimes land managers, when faced with a landscape of brown, ugly, beetle-killed trees, fall all over themselves finding additional taxpayer funds to “fix” the problem, such as a state Governor vowing to order his state employees to storm into a federal wilderness if there are any fires in the area, which has some beetle-killed trees, or an agency asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix a possible future beetle problem.
Some scientists have tried to say that the wildfire potential in areas affected by beetles is over-stated. But now there is new research that further confirms that point of view. And it appeared on the NASA web site, whose satellites were used to collect some of the data.
University of Wisconsin forest ecologists Monica Turner and Phil Townsend, in collaboration with Yellowstone National Park Vegetation Management Specialist Roy Renkin, are studying the connection in the forests near Yellowstone National Park. Roy, by the way, is also a qualified Fire Behavior Analyst, who I have worked with many times on fires. He knows his stuff.
Here is an excerpt from the NASA article: “Their preliminary analysis indicates that large fires do not appear to occur more often or with greater severity in forest tracts with beetle damage. In fact, in some cases, beetle-killed forest swaths may actually be less likely to burn. What they’re discovering is in line with previous research on the subject….”