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california forest fires

ZAGATA: How Sequoias Were Saved Offers Lesson On Forest Fires

Column by Mike Zagata for December 7, 2018

How Sequoias
Were Saved Offers
Lesson On Forest Fires

Editor’s Note: Among his many credentials, Mike Zagata is currently director of organization development at the New York State Forest Owners Association.

Mike Zagata

The fires burning in California are indeed tragic, but their severity could have been averted.
If politicians and environmentalists had bothered to research the ecology of the brushlands and forests in California, they would have discovered that they are fire dominated – in other words, they rely on being burned on a regular basis to be rejuvenated.
The Giant Sequoias are the classic example.
For decades preservationists put out naturally ignited fires in the Sequoia-dominated forest. Over time, scientists observed a decline in the number of young Sequoia trees as they were being replaced by true firs (Abies) and Douglas fir.
Why was this happening?

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