Bark's Policy on Forest Fire and Ecology

Read a summary of our view on fire in the forest below and Bark's Fire Policy here. Also check out other resources regarding fire, forest ecology, and the dangers of post-fire salvage logging below.

For tens of thousands of years, fire has graced the forests that now make up the Mt. Hood National Forest. From regular underburning and the occasional big fire in the eastside forests, to large westside blazes spanning thousands of acres, fire has played an essential role in maintaining ecosystem health. Over the past hundred years, the character of the forests has been vastly changed due to logging, grazing, development, and fire exclusion. As an organization committed to the protection of Mt. Hood National Forest, Bark advocates for public lands management using scientific principles to protect and restore ecological health. As regards fire, Bark advocates for land management practices that recognize wildlands fire as a positive agent of ecological change.

What would fire-positive land management on Mt. Hood National Forest include?

  1. A Fire Management Plan that encourages wildland fire use, and does not default to full suppression for every ignition outside of designated wilderness
  2. A policy shift away from the “blank check” approach to fire suppression efforts
  3. Fuels-reduction projects that focus on ecological restoration, not commercial extraction
  4. Management decisions to minimize the adverse ecological impacts of both fuels reduction projects and fire suppression techniques
  5. Fire-impacted landscapes allowed to naturally regenerate While this fire-positive approach challenges existing cultural assumptions about the value of wildlands fire, it is rooted in core principles of forest ecology and fire science. Now is the time for federal land managers to catch up with science and begin to work with – not fight – wildlands fire.