Overgrown forests called ‘ticking time bombs’
By Nick Morgan
Pointing to a century of forest management policies that’s left a “blanket of trees,” and hotter, drier climes, a U.S. Forest Service researcher says destructive summer wildfires have no sign of stopping. To a crowd of area firefighters and two dozen concerned locals, landscape ecologist Paul Hessburg of Wenatchee, Washington, said wildfires that burn more than 100,000 acres are a “reality for the forseeable future.” And, he said, the situation will get worse long before it gets better. At his multimedia “Era of Megafires” presentation at the Smullin Center in Medford, Hessberg cited a mix of climate change and social issues as underlying reasons he expects the average number of acres burned will double or triple by the middle of the 21st century.