Big Picture: Wildfire Tests Blodgett Forest

When the Mosquito Fire (smoke pictured) entered Blodgett Forest Research Station in early September, the “living laboratory” was put to the test. Research Stations Manager Ariel Roughton worked with ground crews to ensure that fire suppression operations took the highly valuable research into consideration. After returning to the facility once the fire had been pushed back, Roughton and Berkeley Forests Co-Director Rob York documented mixed impacts to the research plots. One area treated by pyrosilviculture—which blends applications of prescribed fire with traditional forest management methods—suffered low-severity impacts. “I’ve worked for the last 20 years for this moment,” said York, who is also a professor of cooperative extension in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, in an interview with the New York Times. “Here’s an actual, real-life test. It’s not just computer models.”

aerial shot of a forest burning and smoke emerging from it despite a clear blue sky