Fire has actually had a positive impact on forest maintenance and health in the US. Wildfires have aided in thinning forests, reducing accumulated fuels such as underbrush, and creating new forests of different ages and patch sizes, adding to the diversity and productivity of forests. In recent years, however, with an influx of residential structures in wooded areas and poorly managed logging practices, severe fires have become more common and more detrimental, meaning that healthy burns are less frequent.
JeffCo Open Space works to keep our local forests safe from devastating fires in many ways, one of which is reducing “ladder fuels” such as small trees and underbrush. These ladder fuels can grow into forest fires which occur when surface fires develop into crown fires. These small trees also drain valuable moisture from the topsoil, making it unavailable to recharge ground water.
On June 21st, 13 AP employees assisted in this mission by thinning and pruning forest vegetation, reducing significant quantities of those surface fuels that can contribute to ladder fueled forest fires.
“Giving back to the communities in which we build and live is a huge part of the AP mission, and my own personal mission,” said AP Safety Manager Jeremy Hakes. “My family lives in JeffCo — my daughter is growing up there — and personally taking part in protecting JeffCo forests is incredibly important to me.”