"When the Bootleg fire tore through a nature reserve in Oregon this summer, the destruction varied in different areas. Researchers say forest management methods, including controlled burns, were a big factor."
"SILVER LAKE, Ore. — When a monster of a wildfire whipped into the Sycan Marsh Preserve here in south-central Oregon in July, Katie Sauerbrey feared the worst.
Ms. Sauerbrey, a fire manager for The Nature Conservancy, the conservation group that owns the 30,000-acre preserve, was in charge of a crew helping to fight the blaze — the Bootleg fire, one of the largest in a summer of extreme heat and dryness in the West — and protect a research station on the property.
Watching the fire, which had already rapidly burned through thousands of acres of adjacent national forest, she saw a shocking sight: Flames 200 feet high were coming over a nearby ridge. “I said, OK, there’s nothing we can do,” she recalled.
But as the fire got closer, it changed dramatically, Ms. Sauerbrey said. “It had gone from the most extreme fire behavior I had ever seen in my career to seeing four-foot flame lengths moving through the stand.” While the fire kept burning through the forest, its lower intensity spared many trees, and the station survived."