Large wildfires continue to burn across the western United States. The National Interagency Fire Center reported that large fires had burned nearly 4.1 million acres in California alone in 2020.
Wildfires not only scorch millions of acres each year but also destroy thousands of homes and cloak cities in unhealthy levels of smoke. California is experiencing wildfires of abnormal size and severity.
But it wasn’t always this way. Indigenous Californians have used cultural burns to mitigate wildfire spread, improve species abundance, and enhance resource quality since time immemorial. However, colonial fire exclusion policies and native land dispossession have hindered the application of cultural fire.
Dr. Marks-Block, an assistant professor of Anthropology, Geography, and Environmental Studies, will cover the importance of cultural burns and how they can help California manage wildfires.