Reducing Hazardous Fuels to Improve Forest Health
DIY BIOCHAR KILNS REMOVE HAZARDOUS FUELS AND IMPROVE FOREST HEALTH IN UTAH
MEGAN DETTENMAIER, DARREN MCAVOY, LAUREN DUPÉY, MICHAEL KUHNS
Kelpie Wilson demonstrating how to make biochar in a simple kiln
SITUATION: In the United States, the 2017 fire season was the most expensive in history with costs exceeding $2 billion. Because of fire suppression activities and land use changes, many trees, such as pinyon-juniper, have expanded their range in Utah and as a result, increased fire risk and decreased forest health.
An increasingly large number of people live at the wildland urban interface, which highlights the wildfire risks posed to private and public infrastructure. If no action is taken to reduce the fuel loads currently accumulating in Utah forests, the costs and risks associated with fighting wildfires will increase, pest invasions may intensify because pests easily travel through dense forests, and as a result, general forest health will decline.
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