Fire Stories: An Interview with Firefighting Veteran Jim Klump

Today we are sharing an interview with firefighting veteran Jim Klump, who is something of a legend in the wildland fire world. Jim worked as a firefighter, smokejumper, helicopter crew superintendent and district fire management officer over the course of a U.S. Forest Service career that spanned four decades. Jim was part of the first … Read more

Forest Management Lessons From the Dixie Fire: A Conversation With Forest Service Biologist Danny Cluck

What did the 2021 Dixie Fire teach us about our public lands and how they are managed? What are we doing well, and what could we do better? In reflecting on the lessons learned from the Dixie Fire, The Lookout spoke with Danny Cluck, a biologist with U.S. Forest Service working in the Modoc, Lassen, Plumas … Read more

Five Years After the Camp Fire, Locals Find Healing Through Prescribed Fire

Five years ago this week, the Camp Fire roared through Butte County, California, torching the town of Paradise and killing 85 people in its path, becoming the deadliest wildfire in California’s recorded history. The anniversary of the fire, which ignited the morning of November 8, 2018, has prompted many in Butte County to reflect on … Read more

Exploring the Conditions that Led to the Camp Fire, Five Years Later

The fire exploded across Paradise, reducing thousands of homes to ashes within a few hours and killing 85 people who couldn’t escape the flames. At its peak, the Camp Fire, which ignited five years ago this week, on Nov. 8, 2018, spread as far as 80 football fields every minute. The Camp Fire started in … Read more

Alternative Paths Into Fire Leadership

While many of the managers overseeing prescribed burns are former firefighters, there are others who take different roads into fire leadership. Claire Monahan is on one of those alternative paths. Claire has worked in increasingly complex roles as a prescribed fire practitioner and fire scientist on the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. Claire was introduced … Read more

Inside a Prescribed Burn

Have you ever wondered what goes into planning and executing a prescribed burning project? Join a fire monitoring crew inside a burn in the Butte County foothills, near Chico, California. The Terra Fuego Resource Foundation, from Chico, wrote the burn plan and provided the burn boss. Deer Creek Resources and the Butte County RCD developed … Read more

Burning a City Park to Protect Homes From Wildfire

In Chico, California’s popular Bidwell Park, a normally brown, grassy landscape has been transformed this summer into a black, burnt one. That’s the result of a prescribed burn aimed at creating a wildfire buffer around the city. While the changed landscape may be a temporary eyesore for the thousands of people who visit the park … Read more

Reimagining Our Relationship With Wildfire

Today, we’re sharing an interview we recorded in the spring with Will Harling, who works to reintroduce prescribed fire and managed wildfire in Northern California’s remote Klamath Mountains. In the interview, we discuss some of the challenges we’re facing as a result of the way wildfires are currently managed, and talk about how we might … Read more

Weighing the Costs: Fire Suppression vs. Prescribed Fire

Firefighting is often far more expensive, and more dangerous to firefighters, than prescribed burning, but officials in California have done little to invest in substantively expanding the use of prescribed fire. To illustrate the difference in cost between fire suppression and preemptive forest management practices, we took a look at how much our government has … Read more

The Challenges of Managing Fire in the Wilderness

When fires burn with primarily ecologically beneficial effects in wilderness areas, fire managers face difficult questions: when do we let these fires burn, and when do we send in resources to try to stop them? The Hancock Fire in northwest California offers a lens through which we can explore this puzzle. The fire ignited in … Read more