Nature Conservancy offers alternative to aggressive fire suppression - forest thinning - The Denver Post
JAMESTOWN ---A team combining ecological know-how with hotshot
firefighting is being deployed in Front Range forests to try to address
Colorado's wildfire predicament: needing the purge of fire but not
The team members, assembled by the Nature Conservancy, carry the axes
and chain saws used to fight fires.
But they also light fires --- 47 controlled burns over the past four years.
And now, as pines and firs thicken in the mountains west of Denver, the
team is mechanically reshaping forests to reduce the likelihood of
"This is way too thick for what it naturally would have been," said
squad leader Tim Borgman, perched on a 40-degree north slope above a
house near Jamestown this week. Over 90 minutes, he and five partners
cut, stripped and diced about three dozen trees, reducing fuel loads and
letting in sunlight.
Such forest thinning --- the team has cleared 12,000 acres since 2008
--- is intended to bolster natural destructive forces that have been
disturbed as people and houses encroach on the forest...
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