Keeping Healthier Forests

Every year, the U.S. Forest Service prescribes something a little unconventional: prescribed burning.

Deputy Public Affairs Officer for the San Bernardino National Forest Gerrelaine Alcordo described prescribed burning as having Forest Service crew go into selected regions and light those designated areas or piles on fire, to monitor the burning so excess underbrush and fuel can be cleared out. “That’s only if we have favorable conditions,” Alcordo added.

The Forest Service undertakes this task so that, “we can limit catastrophic fires during fire season,” she explained. The fires fall under a Fuels and Vegetation Management Plan, which also includes logging in the forest.

This keeps the forest healthy, Alcordo went on to say, “because it gets rid of underbrush.” She continued, “We try to help move the forest toward restoration to a natural state. It makes the forest healthier by giving it the ability to get rid of dead and dying [plants] and helps with moisture toward healthier trees and vegetation.”

In addition, Alcordo said, “It gives the forest more of a natural landscape.”

She stated that the U.S. Forest Service doesn’t yet have official dates, but the start is right around the corner. “We wait until we are out of fire season, which can vary every year,” Alcordo noted. “The past couple of years it’s been between November and January. So anytime between those three months is when we start burning.”