Fire is essential in Western forests – it keeps forests healthy by reducing vegetation density, recycling nutrients, and helps maintain wildlife habitat. But, for over a century, we have excluded it from our forests, leaving behind a legacy of overly dense forests that help fuel high-intensity wildfires that damage communities and the water supply. In the past two decades, wildfires have gotten larger and much more damaging.
Forest managers have been working for more than a decade to restore forests to their historical densities, primarily by cutting trees. But this work has often been small in size and scattered across the landscape. The work to date has simply not been big enough to match the size and intensities of the wildfires we have experienced recently. We need a solution that can greatly increase the pace and scale of restoration. That solution is putting fire to work for us.
We are working to:
What does success look like in our Fireshed?
- Conduct analysis, planning and outreach to facilitate managing wildfires for ecological benefit when conditions allow.
- Increase local capacity for prescribed fire, including staffing, agreements & funding, that results in more acreage treated.
- Treat 20% of the strategic priority areas using a combination of mechanical, manual, and prescribed fire methods.
Putting Fire to Work For Us
The Northern Colorado Fireshed Collaborative (NCFC) believes that maximizing our use of fire is the most efficient and effective way to increase the pace and scale of treatments needed to tackle the challenge of making our forests healthy and resilient. We are doing work at a large enough scale to make a lasting and positive impact. This requires working together: across agencies, across ownership boundaries, and across landscapes. Wildfires that burn into areas that have experienced prescribed burning typically cause less damage, are easier to control, and are safer for firefighters.
Elements of a Prescribed Burn