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The Meaning and History of a Controlled Burn

Article from New York Times, By Thomas Fuller

The California landscape has been shaped by intentional fires for millenniums. What European settlers in the 19th century took as a “natural” habitat was the result of what fire experts say was the deliberate burning of millions of acres of forests and chaparral every year by Native tribes.

Now, after four years of particularly destructive fires, there is broad consensus among experts and government officials that California should embrace Indigenous traditions and the notion that “good” fire is crucial to preventing the destructive power of megafires.

But a prescribed burn last week in Modoc County, in the far northeastern corner of the state, underlines the difficulties of using fire as a forest management tool.

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