Forest Cycles

Fire: A Force of Nature

Fire shapes the forests of the present and the future.

Before the widespread settlement of the Pacific Northwest, lightning-ignited fires burned millions of acres across the land. Northwest Indians used fire to create open areas and improve the growth of grasses.

During the past 100 years, foresters put out fires to protect lives, property and forest resources. When the policy of fire suppression began in the 1920s, people did not understand the benefits of fire in forest ecosystems. Today we know that some fires help maintain forest health.

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