Wildfire is a part of nature. It plays a key role in shaping ecosystems by serving as an agent of renewal and change. But fire can be deadly, destroying homes, wildlife habitat and timber, and polluting the air with emissions harmful to human health. Fire also releases carbon dioxide—a key greenhouse gas—into the atmosphere. Fire’s effect on the landscape may be long-lasting. Fire effects are influenced by forest conditions before the fire and management action taken or not taken after the fire.
Scientists with the Pacific Northwest Research Station are conducting a range of studies pertaining to fire effects on the environment.