a woman burning a mass of sticks
Diana Almendariz of the Maidu/Patwin tribes sets fire to a redbud pile, a plant used in Native American basketry, during the Tending and Gathering Garden Indigenous Fire Workshop in Woodland. (Alysha Beck/UC Davis)

Rethinking Wildfire

Cultural Burning and the Art of Not Fighting Fire

by Kat Kerlin on Oct 1, 2020

"When fire ravages forests, homes and lives, it can be hard to think of it as anything other than terrifying and something to be avoided at all costs. For thousands of years, Native Americans in what is now California and across the West treated and nurtured fire like the natural resource it is through the practice of cultural burning.

For non-Native people, cultural burns require a mental adjustment — one that views fire as restorative, not destructive. This is fire lighting, not firefighting.

As wildfires burn bigger, hotter and more frequently each year, state and local agencies, groups and landowners are increasingly looking to Native people — the original land managers — for guidance on living with fire."

Read the full story at UC Davis Science and Climate

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