Coast redwoods are naturally adapted to resist fire damage. It’s going to be a while before it’s safe for us to visit these forests and assess the fire effects, and it will be longer still before we fully understand the short- and long-term impacts on the trees. In the meantime, we will maintain that cautious optimism, knowing that the ancient giants have survived for centuries and lived through many wildfires.
Save the Redwoods just led a team of researchers and land stewards from all over California to learn about using prescribed fire (controlled burning) on private lands. Take a peek behind the scenes to see how we use fire as a tool to reduce hazardous buildups of combustible vegetation and improve the health of our forests across League properties and the redwood range.
Nearly $150,000 in research grants from Save the Redwoods League have been awarded as part of the 2018 grant cycle. Funding these projects is a significant component of fulfilling the League’s mission, and each of these projects will contribute to scientific knowledge of coast redwood and giant sequoia forests. This research can help us answer big questions that will protect the health of people, wildlife, and the forests.
As major wildfires burn throughout California, our thoughts are with the affected communities and dedicated firefighters. The area burned by California wildfires has grown in recent years, and in many cases, the fires have been burning hotter than ever. Kristen Shive, the League’s new Senior Scientist, explains how our forests are faring, and how the League’s restoration and forest management efforts can prevent negative consequences of severe wildfires.
At the time of writing, the Soberanes Fire has burned over 60,000 acres in Monterey County and is about 45% contained. The fire area covers much of Garrapata State Park, a scenic and rugged redwoods park at the southern end of the coast redwood range. We don’t yet know whether, or to what extent, the park’s redwood groves are suffering damage; and while the primary concern is for the well-being of nearby human communities, it’s interesting to consider the implications of fires like this in the redwood forest.