Fire ecologist to speak at SOU about community resilience to fire

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/aBeLbn)

(Ashland, Ore.) — University of Washington fire ecologist Susan Prichard will discuss the need to include managed fire as a tool to ease the threat of catastrophic wildfires in a presentation on Thursday, May 4, in the Southern Oregon University Science Auditorium.

Her talk, “Becoming Fire Adapted: Community & Ecosystem Resilience to Fire,” will be hosted by SOU’s Environmental Science and Policy Program. Other sponsors of the event include the Ashland Forest Resiliency partners, the Fire Learning Network, Lomakatsi Restoration, the City of Ashland, the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service. The event is free and open to the public.

Those who attend Thursday’s presentation, which will begin with a half-hour reception at 7 p.m., will see equipment used in controlled burns and learn how fire-adapted communities are making their neighborhoods more fire resistant.

Prichard, who earned her doctorate in ecosystem science at the University of Washington, works with the Forest Service’s Pacific Wildland Fire Sciences Laboratory in Seattle and lives in Washington’s Methow Valley, which has experienced large fires, pervasive smoke and property losses in recent summers.

She says that Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest regularly burned portions of their lands as recently as 150 years ago to improve safety, food production and forage for deer and elk. Prichard maintains that today’s communities need to embrace manageable fires – and put up with the smoke they produce – as they seek to avoid huge, uncontrollable wildfires.

In addition to her duties with the Forest Service wildfire laboratory, Prichard has served since 2003 as a research scientist with UW’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. She served as a research assistant for the five years prior to that with the university’s College of Forest Resources.

-SOU-

About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.