Woodbury Fire Ecology Report Webinar
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Gila County presents: Garden and Country Extension Webinar Series. A Zoom webinar (60-minutes or less) featuring a variety of horticultural and natural resource topics relevant to the environmental conditions and residential concerns of Gila County, Arizona.
Featured Topic: Woodbury Fire Ecology Report: Overview and Management Implications Webinar
Featured Speaker: Dr. Mary Lata, Fire Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest. A native Iowan, Mary Lata’s fire career started in 1993 with three seasons of mostly tallgrass prairie restoration on an internship with The Nature Conservancy. From 1999 to 2001, she worked for the National Park Service at Badlands National Park in South Dakota and as a fire effects monitor out of Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, which included an assignment on a Wildfire Use Fire --- where she became addicted to the study of fire. She did her PhD research on a full-ride fellowship, then accepted a permanent job as the fire ecologist for the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands before completing it. There she managed the fuels, watershed and botany programs. She ultimately completed a Ph.D. in Geoscience at the University of Iowa, while working full time. In 2010, with an eye to improving the management of fire regimes on a landscape scale, she moved to Flagstaff as the fire ecologist on the core team for the Four Forest Restoration Initiative. Desiring to get to get back on the ground, in May 2018 she became the fire ecologist for the Tonto National Forest in Arizona.
Webinar Overview: The Woodbury Fire (~129,000 acres) was the 5th largest fire in Arizona history as of 2019. The absence of fire in its fire adapted ecosystems allowed live and dead woody fuel to increase and the fuels to become more contiguous. 2019 was an unfortunate one for fire in this area because the invasive grasses in the desert converted hundreds of thousands of acres of Sonoran Desert vegetation that rarely burns into a carpet of highly flammable grasses and shrubs that burned fast and hot. Many of the undesirable fire effects that did occur, did so not because of decisions made in the last few months, or even years, but because of the culmination of human impacts over the last century or so. The Tonto National Forest will need to make some difficult decisions on how to manage the Sonoran Desert in years such as this one when the desert is functionally a grass/shrub system in which fire is frequent rather than a desert ecosystem in which fire is rare. Key management options include: Selective grazing; Selective low severity/low intensity prescribed fire; and Creating and maintaining fire breaks in strategic locations.
Webinar Facilitator: Chris Jones, Extension Agent, University of Arizona Gila County Cooperative
Extension Zoom Link: https://arizona.zoom.us/j/93104235168 Please log in up to 10 minutes prior to the webinar.