For generations, we have lived by Smoky the Bear’s mantra “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Not only did we get very good at reducing fires caused by humans, we became very good at putting out natural occurring wild fires, as well. This seemed like common sense; we have homes and resources to protect. Yet, we are now finding out that natural, frequent wildfires are needed to keep our forest healthy.
Small wildfires burn up fallen logs and debris, keeping large, destructive fires at bay while the ash provides important nutrients for the poor, rocky soil. Small wildfires also clear out old long-living, slow-growing species which allows space for short-living, quick-growing species. This is important because it generates a forest with a high diversity of trees and shrubs, therefore, making it less prone to pest. By not letting forest fires burn, we let our forest become choked with pine trees. Over the last decade, our climate has warmed. Without long deep freezes during the winter, pine beetles have easily infested our predominantly pine forest. Hence, large swaths of our forests have died.
Large areas of dead fallen trees combined with drought conditions in past 15 years have lead to several devastating forest fires. Whole neighborhoods have burned down and lives have been lost. Forested communities in Colorado want to protect themselves from large fires in the future. One way is by clear-cutting a wide line of forest around populated areas. This is done to create a fire break which allows fire fighters to stop a fire from bearing down on the town.
Julia Jennings is a professional photographer in the greater Denver area. She specializes in taking portraits including family, newborn, baby, children, senior, glamour, group events, anniversary, engagement and wedding. Growing up in Colorado, Julia spent her time painting, taking photos, exploring the outdoors and camping with her family which nurtured her passions for art, photography, geology, and family. After earning her bachelors of science in environmental geology, she wanted to pursue her passion for photography and started her business, Moments Photography by Julia Jennings. When Julia is not taking photos, she takes care of her children and volunteers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, preparing fossil specimens. It is her hope by writing this blog, that her readers learn about great outdoor spaces to visit, the wonderful geology that surrounds them, the environmental challenges in our state, and how to become better photographers themselves. Moments Photography by Julia Jennings would like to invite you to like our Facebook page or connect with us on LinkedIn to receive Julia’s weekly blog.