Alarmed by scope of wildfires, officials turn to Native Americans for help

“‘Fire was absolutely a part of what we did all the time,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t a fearful thing.’
“Long before California was California, Native Americans used fire to keep the lands where they lived healthy. That meant intentionally burning excess vegetation at regular intervals, during times of the year when the weather would keep blazes smaller and cooler than the destructive wildfires burning today.
“The work requires a deep understanding of how winds would spread flames down a particular hillside or when lighting a fire in a forest would foster the growth of certain plants, and that knowledge has been passed down through ceremony and practice. But until recently, it has been mostly dismissed as unscientific.
Now, as more Americans are being forced to confront the realities of climate change, firefighting experts and policymakers are increasingly turning to fundamental ecological principles that have long guided Indigenous communities.”

The Press Democrat

Read the article in The Press Democrat, by New York Times journalist Jill Cowan.