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Should We Control Wildfires?

2013 has been an especially bad year for forest fires in America’s West. The Rim Fire has spread into Yosemite, one of the most cherished national parks and has done untold damage to a huge swath of once scenic landscape. But as Anthony tells us, while the flames may look terrible, fires like these may not be so bad.

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How Sequoias Survive Wildfires, in Yosemite and Beyond

“As the Rim Fire rages in and around Yosemite National Park, biologists have taken steps to protect two groves of giant sequoia trees. One tree expert suspects, however, that the measures have more to do with public relations than with sound forest policy.”

Misguided Fire Control Is Making Wildfires Bigger: Interview with Ecologist Stephen Pyne

“After over a week of burning in and around my Colorado Springs hometown, the massive “Waldo Canyon wildfire” is now 70 percent contained. As of Monday afternoon, the fire had claimed two lives (with more people still unaccounted for), 350 homes, burned 17,000 acres, and cost over five million dollars to fight.”

Wildfires– Nature Taking It’s Course?”

“Wildfires are part of the life cycle of forests, but the nation watched in horror last summer as firefighters tried and failed to smother some of the biggest fires as they swept through prime recreation land and destroyed property. Now forestry experts are openly debating an age-old question: Should wildfires be stopped at all costs, or should they be allowed to play their role in thinning forests?”

How Wildfires Work

“In just seconds, a spark or even the sun’s heat alone sets off an inferno. The wildfire quickly spreads, consuming the thick, dried-out vegetation and almost everything else in its path. What was once a forest beĀ­comes a virtual powder keg of untapped fuel.”

Yosemite Wildfire Grows, Fueling Dangerous Winds

“A colossal wildfire raging across the western edge of Yosemite National Park swept further into the park on Sunday and forced the evacuation of some its camps due to heavy smoke, according to a park spokesman.”

Fire near Yosemite grows to more than 280 square miles

“Even before evacuation warnings reached her rural mountain community ahead of the massive and growing wildfire just to the east, Stacy Geer packed up her two kids and headed to the safety of an evacuation center.”

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