Washington State University Extension Forestry hosts experts from the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources in a webinar presentation, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 21, exploring the history of wildfires in Eastern Washington, and how to understand, manage, and find ecological benefits from them.

Restoring the Narrative: Wildfires of Eastern Washington is free to attend.

WSU Extension Forester Sean Alexander will introduce USFS research scientist Paul Hessburg, author of the TED Talk Living (Dangerously) in the Era of Megafires, and DNR wildfire protection specialist Guy Gifford. They will discuss the history of fire on the landscape, how it shaped our forests, what we are doing today to manage these forests, and what landowners on the dry Eastern side of the state can do to protect their homes and resources.

Registration is available online.

Creating a prepared, knowledgeable community

Wildfires have a significant impact on Northwest communities, from immediate safety risks to stagnant smoke in the skies, and on forests. Large-scale fires have continued to increase in frequency, devastating wide swaths of forests and converting these to open grasslands.

Recent destructive fires, such as the Carlton Complex or the Okanogan Complex, which individually burned over 300,000 acres of land, destroyed hundreds of homes, and led to the loss firefighters lives, are events that Northwest residents need to be better prepared for. To do this, it is important to understand why these large fires are happening.

For thousands of years, natural wildfires have played an integral role in Eastern Washington’s dry forests, ultimately shaping ecological systems. Recent land use changes have set the stage for more frequent, high-severity wildfires. This discussion helps create a community that understands and accepts the role of fire as an ecological benefit.