Forests Today & Forever, 1995

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Solomon, Jennifer 1995. "Historical Research Reveals Northwest Forests Were Shaped by Fire," Forests Today & Forever, Eugene, OR. Vol. 9, Issue 5: 4-7, 16.


According to Zybach, the Indians used fire as a tool to control fire and they did so by removing fuels from the forest floor. "People gathered firewood systematically all along the river banks and mouths, and around the campsites -- whatever was closest to the fire locations. In fact, they had canoes out in the streams fishing in logs and moving fuels for trade. In addition, campsites and prairies were seasonally burned to reduce insect populations, to hunt, to clear land and harvest crops. Because these land use patterns resulted in little coarse woody debris, there was often less smoke by today's standards. That's how the Indians controlled fire. They didn't have wildfires, that's a European phenomenon. The Indians were a fire-dependent people who taught by demonstration and word. To say that today we somehow have a better handle on fire is just wrong -- and arrogant," Zybach explains.