Episode 28: Can Wildfires Be Managed? – Dialogue and Debate
May 23, 2018 6:00pm
During the summer of 2018, the western United States and Canada entered what had previously been an ‘unprecedented’ wildfire season. Walls of flame threatened environments from urban neighborhoods to national parks in fires burning more intensely than we’ve seen in this lifetime. And a generations-old debate rages on: can and should humans be doing more to manage these wildfires before they get started AND while they burn? Or should we decide that 100+ years of fire suppression has led us down the wrong path, and it’s time to get out of the way of a natural process? As with anything this complicated, no one side is ever 100% wrong, so we had to take a closer look.
This conversation is not one about the details of firefighting, logging, or forest conservation efforts. It’s about entire ecosystems and community vitality – and how fires have a dynamic impact on both. Wildfires put economic security – and even human lives – on the line, so it’s no surprise perspectives on how to manage and control them evoke strong emotions. But, as with all Interchange panel discussions, we focused on bringing balanced and informed perspectives to the table. We hope you’ll learn something new, or have an opportunity to listen deeper on this challenging and sensitive topic.