Document Type


Publication Title

The Wildlife Professional


The Wildlife Society

Publication Date

Winter 2012


Forest fires, particularly those that burn at mixed and high severity (collectively called ‘severe’), have been traditionally perceived as catastrophic events, directing public attention and immense forest management budgets toward fire prevention and suppression. These fires may indeed be catastrophic when measured by losses of human lives and property. However, severe fires in wildland areas are both natural and necessary to maintain the integrity of dynamic, disturbance-adapted forest systems. We propose a change in the current paradigm—which holds that severe forest fires are always harmful—to a new one that embraces their ecological necessity.


This article is in the public domain.

Recommended Citation

Bond, Monica L.; Siegel, Rodney B.; Hutto, Richard L.; Saab, Victoria A.; Shunk, Stephen A. 2012. A new forest fire paradigm: The need for high-severity fires. The Wildlife Professional. Winter 2012: 46-49.

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