Understanding Fire Effects

Over the past 3 weeks, lightning ignited many fires in NW California and Western Oregon and several have become large. This video uses satellite imagery from 8/31/2023 to evaluate how hot the fires burned in different areas. We discuss factors affecting differences in fire severity and what burn patterns can tell us about past land management or fire history. We talk about how to integrate an understanding of a place’s potential future fire severity when planning projects intended to create more fire-resilient forests in the future.

We also look at imagery of the 2018 Camp Fire to understand how fuel moisture affects the likelihood of spot fires starting, and look at how firing operations and existing forest conditions affected fire severity during the 2021 Dixie Fire. We talk about reforestation after large wildfires, and the need to consider future maintenance needs before you plant a bunch of trees in a big burn scar.


Our videos have chapters, and you can scroll along the YouTube timeline to see the specific fire you are interested in. If this is hard to do in this page, click on the ‘YouTube’ link in bottom right of the video to see the video in YouTube, and you can navigate the chapter links in the description.

Hop here to all of the 2023 Wildfire Videos.

The Lookout is an independent media company reporting on wildfire, forestry, land management, and rural culture. We are driven by a desire to help people understand how wildfires work, the strategies employed by people attempting to manage them, and the intersection of fire and culture. We are based in Chico, in Northern California. We are 100% user-supported. If you enjoy our content, check out the-lookout.org and consider becoming a subscriber at the-lookout.org/donate.

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Cover photo by Will Harling – Klamath River