© 2021 MTPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Montana News
Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Fireline Episode 06 - Part 2: The Fire Triangle

Fireline Episode 06 - Part 2: The Fire Triangle
Fireline Episode 06 - Part 2: The Fire Triangle

Tens of millions of people across the West are facing the reality of life in a flammable landscape. When we hear about communities getting wiped out by wildfires, what’s actually going on? Why is it happening? And what can we do about it? Learn more now on the final episode of Fireline.

  • Jack Cohen is a retired U.S. Forest Service research physical scientist who focusing on the combustion and heat transfer of wildland fire
  • Sheryl Gunn is a silviculturist with the Lolo National Forest
  • Alex Metcalf is a social scientist focused on the broad field of human dimensions on natural resources and a professor at the University of Montana.
  • Libby Metcalf is a social scientist specializing in the way humans interact with their natural environment and a professor at the University of Montana.
Related Content
  • Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the northern Rockies.
  • When Lily Clarke arrived at the August Complex Fire, it was a fire of sensational size. The blaze eventually burned more than 1 million acres, becoming the largest recorded wildfire in California history. Across the country in 2020, flames charred an area nearly 5 times the size of Yellowstone National Park — the largest swath of land burned since reliable records began. Wildfires across the country are getting bigger, hotter and more devastating. But what’s all this fire really mean — for the west, for firefighters and for everyday folks? And what’s it really like to fight fire on the ground?
  • In 1910, a wildfire the size of Connecticut engulfed parts of Montana, Idaho and Washington. Ed Pulaski and his crew were among the many people trapped by the enormous blaze. The Big Burn, as it came to be known, helped propel a culture of fire suppression that still persists in many forms. What does that massive fire mean for the way our society deals with the wildfires of today?
  • The connection between humans and fire goes back millions of years. What started with campfires and cooking grew into a burning addiction that catalyzed the Industrial Revolution and now shapes nearly every aspect of our society. Now, our ongoing reliance on fire in its many forms is changing the climate with explosive consequences for wildfires — and much more.
  • For millennia, wildfire was part of life in North America. Indigenous people used it for tradition and ceremony, to improve the health of ecosystems, and to assist with hunting and gathering. But the arrival of white settlers marked the beginning of an era in which that knowledge about fire and its role on the landscape was suppressed. Now, Indigenous groups across the country are working to revive tribal relationships with fire.
  • There are more than 30,000 people who fight wildfires in the U.S., and about 400 firefighters have died on the job over the last two decades. As fire seasons get longer and fires become more devastating, the physical and mental toll on firefighters themselves is also growing.
  • The Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI, is where forest and homes meet. It’s the fastest growing land use type in the nation, and also where one in three homes across the country are situated. What’s it mean to live in the WUI, where the stakes of wildfire are higher than anywhere else? And why is this area so vulnerable to fire?