Dec 30, 2021
Gwen Sanchez is the fire manager on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, a landscape that encompasses sagebrush habitat up to the high Sierras. Working in fire is different than it used to be. It's nearly a 12-month season across the country, and wildfires in the West are regularly breaking records for size and severity. Fire managers are also noticing that some landscapes aren't bouncing back from severe fire like they're supposed to. We talk about what makes a resilient landscape, and what role we play in keeping lands healthy (especially when 9 out of 10 fires are human-ignited).
1:30 Artemis has been on the air for TWO YEARS
3:00 Podcast ambitions? Everything helps!
6:00 Fire management on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the largest forest in the Lower 48
14:00 Hard jobs = often very rewarding jobs
16:00 Career perk of working in fire: Being in the field often enough to get awesome sunrises and sunsets, to see places you wouldn't ordinarily see (Hawaii, Alaska, Australia)
20:00 On the Humboldt-Toiyabe, ALL types of ecosystems - from sage grouse habitat in the lowlands to 11,000-12,000 elevations in the high Sierra
23:00 "Run cards" are prepared plans that tell fire managers which resources are needed on different ecosystems for adequate initial response
24:00 Fire return intervals vary depending on the landscape; They can be relatively frequent in dry shrublands, and as long as 50-100 years in high-alpine areas that receive a lot of winter precipitation
27:00 Drought and climate change are generally compressing fire return intervals, making fire more frequent across most landscapes
29:00 "What we used to think was complex 20 years ago, that's not even close to what we're seeing as complex now."
30:00 Longer fire seasons; larger fires (in 2021 the country saw its first wildfire over a million acres); higher severity of wildfires; wildfire on new landscapes; fire altering habitat
32:00 "We're seeing things that we never thought we would see."
34:00 Fires are regularly out-performing predictive models
36:00 9 out of 10 wildfires are human-caused; How do we educate new lands users? Fire prevention can make a huge difference
42:00 Debris burns that move under the soil and pop up 50 feet away - it happens
46:00 Seeing climate change during hunting season: Less snow on the ground, less habitat resiliency, changing habitat
50:00 Resilient landscapes: How quickly can lands recover to healthy, thriving landscapes after fire? Climate change is altering resiliency
51:00 Fire treatments
53:00 Critical habitat: We can't always preserve it by leaving it alone
58:00 Forest treatments versus sagebrush treatments
1:02 Rangeland & sagebrush steppe; Sagebrush is often replaced by grass after major burn events -- it can change the makeup of those habitats; A cheatgrass burn cycle can happen as frequently as every three years
1:10 Wildfire... east vs. west; Climate change looks different depending on your geography
1:14 "We're fighting fire in different parts of the country almost 12 months out of the year right now."
1:16 Volunteer-run habitat restoration projects are a hugely beneficial use of volunteer time, add it to your 2022 resolutions to join one
1:23 Duty + service when talking about our relationship to the natural world