Burned homes

UO prof discusses policy to prevent wildfire disaster with NPR

Wildfires still rage in California wine country, leaving thousands displaced and at least 40 dead in one of the worst fire seasons in California history. This raises the question of what can be done to prevent the disastrous effects of wildfire.

 Cassandra Moseley, director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program in the UO’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment, spoke with National Public Radio’s Joshua Johnson on “The 1A” about the complexity of preparing for and responding to the outbreak of a wildfire.

“They can come very quickly like a tornado, but they will typically last longer,” Moseley said. “Whether it’s days, weeks or months. So this is a multiscaled operation.”

Creating defensible space around one’s home and around the greater community is critical, she said. She notes that large trees are accustomed to fire, but it is important to make space between those trees through controlled burns and mechanical clearing. 

She also says that “creating policies that make it easier for communities and agencies to conduct prescribed burning is a really a key policy landscape in order to make it easier to live with fire.”

To learn more, listen to “On Fire, Out West” on Milwaukee Public Radio.

Cassandra Moseley is a associate vice president for research at the UO and director of the Ecosystem Workforce Program. Her research focuses on natural resource policy, including forests, wildfire, bioenergy, rural development and federal land management.