22 Apr Happy Earth Day!
On this day in 1970, roughly 20 million Americans concerned about the environment observed the first “Earth Day” with a demonstration which demanded that political leaders clean up our environment. In response, Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. The decade that followed also gave us 28 major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. But how does fire and life safety factor into Earth Day and the environment?
Fire has always effected the environment, and one of the ways we can measure that effect is via prescribed burning. A prescribed burn, also known as a controlled burn, hazard reduction burning, backfire, swailing, or a burn-off, is a wildfire set intentionally for purposes of forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement.
Prescribed burning has direct and indirect effects on the environment. Proper use of prescribed fire, and evaluation of the benefits and costs of a burn require knowledge of how fire affects vegetation, wildlife, soil, water, and air and in turn how these impact humans especially in population centers. Burning techniques and timing of burns can be varied to alter fire effects. For more information about fire and the environment, please visit the US Forest Service web site FEIS.
So while fire can be devastating, in some instances, when controlled, it can also be a useful tool in environmental awareness.
Happy Earth day from all of us here at TERPconsulting!