Out in the Klamath Mountains of northern California, fires are rushing through the underbrush, lighting everything they touch between the trees ablaze.
However these aren’t a danger to the rich hardwood forests, they are deliberately set by the Yurok and Karuk tribal nations as a wildfire prevention strategy of all things. As strange as it might sound to literally fight fire with fire, it’s something the tribes of these mountains have done for at least 1,000 years according to oral tradition.
Low-level and controlled burnings are in fact an ancient and successful forest-management practice. A cleared forest floor and less fine fuels such as leaves and ferns, makes it more difficult for wildfires to ignite and spread.
Wildfires have raged across California over the last half-decade, and out of these ashes sprouted a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the tribal nations of the Klamath Mountains.