How tribes used fire to shape the landscape — and wildlife

Many tribes traditionally used fire to shape the landscape. ©chris h.

California is battling another season of catastrophic wildfires, but before European colonization, the Yurok tribe used quieter, controlled burning to shape the landscape and the wildlife that occupied it. “We have fire-dependent species that coevolved with fire-dependent culture,” Frank Lake, a U.S. Forest Service research ecologist and Yurok descendant, tells Wired magazine. “When we remove fire, we also take away the ecosystem services they produce.”

Read more from Wired’s photo essay on a Training Exchange, or TREX, between the Yurok-led Cultural Fire Management Council and the Nature Conservancy’s Fire Learning Network here.