Brock Dolman, Ecologist and Director of the OAEC Wildlands program, gave an online presentation for FireSafe Sonoma on May 23rd, 2023 introducing the concept of “Fuels to Flows” – turning the fire fuel load problem into a water conserving, life enhancing solution.
Vegetation management for wildfire mitigation often includes limbing and thinning out dense, overstocked brush to prevent wildfire from climbing into the forest canopy via “fire ladders”. But what to do with the resulting material, aka slash? Burn it? Chip it? Haul it “away”? In this talk, Brock posits that “Slash ain’t trash, it’s beneficial biomass!” He suggests that the most climate friendly (and low-tech, economical) way to deal with the slash (carbon) is to strategically place it in on the forest floor and within ephemeral stream beds to slow, spread and sink water – this prevents erosion of upland gullies, builds soil and biodiversity, and increases the quantity and quality of water in our aquifers and downstream rivers.