The Nature Conservancy is working with a diverse set of partners as part of the Ashland Fire Resiliency Project, helping to protect the community from the ever-worsening threat of catastrophic wildfire.
Too Much Fuel in the Forest
Oregon is known for expansive forests and beautiful trees, but 100 years of fire suppression has thrown the state's dry forests out of balance. Healthy forests depend on low, ground-hugging fires to remove underbrush, create habitat for animals and reseed trees, ferns, flowers and other plants. After suppressing even the mildest fires, our forests have grown unnaturally crowded and dense—oftentimes with more than four times the number of trees that existed just 70 years ago.
This overabundance of young trees, underbrush and fire-ready materials creates a tremendous risk for fires to resist control and become disastrous. In Ashland, such a fire would be catastrophic for the city, the water supply and even the world famous Shakespeare Festival. Here, and in other dry forests across the state, TNC scientists are bringing an innovative and collaborative approach to restore these iconic landscapes to their historic density and balance.