Can California Burn its Way Out of its Wildfire Problem?

A firefighter works a prescribed burn at the Shasta National Forest.(Molly Samuel/KQED)

A firefighter works a prescribed burn at the Shasta National Forest. (Molly Samuel/KQED)


The Rim Fire, which consumed more than 250,000 acres in and around Yosemite National Park this summer, is a prime example of America’s dangerous legacy of putting out too many wildfires. After a century of suppressing the flames, firefighting agencies have let the brush and small trees get so thick, that when a fire does get going, it can turn into a monster.

People who fight and study fire generally agree that one of the best tools for preventing massive wildfires is prescribed burning: intentionally setting smaller fires before the big ones hit. But there are major challenges to fighting fire with fire.

This featured aired on KQED on November 18, 2013. There are a lot more pictures from the fire I went to on the website.

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