The gopher tortoise is the keystone species of longleaf pine forests as its burrows provide shelter to 360 other species.
The gopher tortoise earned its name for good reason – because it likes to dig and spends much of its time underground. The gopher tortoise, the Southeast’s only land-dwelling tortoise, burrows in the sandy soils below longleaf pine forests where it can escape heat and danger.
Its burrows are popular. About 360 other species, from rattlesnakes to rabbits, toads, and northern bobwhite take advantage of the underground real estate provided by the tortoise, what biologists call a keystone species because other species depend on it. Read more »
Researchers prepare for the next phase in examining physical fire processes by adding the effect of a slope. Photo credit: Mark Finney
In recent months, we have all become familiar with images in the media of wildland firefighters digging lines, air tankers dropping retardant and fire engines dispersing water. You may wonder “how do these firefighters know what it takes to fight fire?”
The short answer is: research.
Before a wildland firefighter sees his or her first fire, they are given the tools and training on how to fight fire and its behavior. The information passed onto them is not learned overnight but rather through years of research. Read more »
A Fire Wise protected home with landscaping designed to minimize fuel that would feed a fire to the doorstep.
Very often, the difference between saving your home in a wild fire and losing it to the flames is pretty much determined by what you do to prepare your property. The U.S. Forest Service calls it being Fire Wise.
I’ve had personal experience in the importance of clearing a wide perimeter around your property to deny fuel—dried wood, grass and trees—to a fire. Back about ten years ago my grandparents’ ranch house near the Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County was spared because of a 150-foot clear space between the flames and the house. And this wasn’t the first time that had happened. Read more »
Wildland fires burn intensely and creating a defensible space around your home can be the difference between a close call and destruction. Photo credit: U.S. Forest Service
We’ve all seen the heart-wrenching images on TV: lives and property destroyed by wildland fire. And, this fire season, with over eight million acres burned, we are seeing these images more frequently.
Most of us think nothing can be done to protect a home from the onslaught of a raging wildland fire. Don’t be fooled, there is a way to protect your home. The U.S. Forest Service calls it Fire Wise. Read more »
Current restoration goals include thinning and using fire as a management tool to reduce fuel loads. (Photo by Clint Gould, U.S. Forest Service)
Like a phoenix rising from ashes, blackened portions of the Stanislaus National Forest, which were left by the Rim Fire that blazed through the Sierras in August of 2013, have begun to spring to life. Left with a burn scar that is one-third larger than New York City, a reforestation team is diligently working to bring forth a new forest.
Since the fire, much has been done in the way of making the forest safe for public travel and recreation along main travel routes. Snags and fire-damaged trees present significant safety hazards to humans. They also create a tremendous fuel load on the ground (biomass) as they fall. This fuel can feed future fires, which can be severely damaging to the soil. Read more »
With the annual hurricane season brewing and potential winter storms on the horizon – not to mention the ever-present tornadoes, earthquakes, drought and fire – federal agencies are joining forces this month to help Americans prepare for and survive disasters.
September is National Preparedness Month and America’s PrepareAthon! is a national awareness campaign to get families and communities thinking about how to respond in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Saluting the “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare” theme, the month’s events conclude on September 30 with National PrepareAthon! Day. Are you getting involved? Read more »