The start to my VetsWork AmeriCorps internship began in “Fire Season.” The Forest Service is tasked with prescribed burning of a given number of acres within a small time frame. Part of the reason for the time frame is to protect wildlife that is more active in the spring and summer. Although I’m am not currently red card certified, I was able to help with many burns by taking weather readings, checking smoke movement, and guarding roads and trails. Soon I will receive the training to participate on the burn itself.
The forest has prescribed burns for many reasons. Forest fires are actually a natural occurrence, and are important in plant growth. Prescribed burns reduce debris, provide nourishment and leave ample space for trees to grow to their potential, reducing overcrowding and stress. What we don’t want is an out of control forest fire. Excess debris and overcrowded areas can contribute to these fires and can threaten personal property and lives. Wildfires have been increasing in size within the U.S. Hopefully this summer will provide me the opportunity to fight wildfires.