Fire is one way nature reboots and regenerates a forest. This wasn't always understood and government policies lead to decades of suppressing naturally caused fires. In places like the Clearwater National Forest, fire managers are turning to ‘prescribed fires’ to improve forest health and wildlife habitat.
Elk need vast fields of grass and brush to thrive and repopulate. This kind of landscape was once characteristic of the Clearwater, but dense forests now cover the mountain slopes and valleys.
Idaho Fish and Game is working with the Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to do strategic burns, known as prescribed fires, to create openings that break up the dense forests. While a small percentage of the forest will be treated, prescribed fire can provide a big boost for elk and other wildlife.
In addition, prescribed fire helps prevent large, high-intensity wildfires by reducing the amount of ‘fuel’ available to burn.
These videos explain how prescribed fire works.
What is a Prescribed Fire?
When and Why is Prescribed Fire Used?
How Does Fire Affect Wildlife?
Fire and Communities
Fire, Wildlife and the Economy
How Did We Get Here?