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"Era of Megafires" to be presented


Anyone who has wondered about the growth of the local widlfire season and of the size of the fires that have struck the region in the last few years may want to catch up on the work of Dr. Paul Hessburg.

They’ll have a good chance next week.

That’s when Wildfire Project’s “The Era of Megafires” will be presented at the new Lucy F. Covington Government Center Auditorium in Nespelem on Tuesday, March 21. Another presentation is scheduled for the Omak Performing Arts Center the next night. Both presentation begin at 6 p.m. Dinner will be available at 5 p.m. for the Nespelem presentation.

Hessburg is with the Pacific Northwest Research Station, in Wenatchee, and the University of Washington, Seattle, where he has researched wildfire and landscape ecology for more than 27 years.

“The presented material will come in the form of fast-moving, short, topic-based talks interspersed with compelling video vignettes,” a press release stated. “Think Ted X mixed with snappy documentary shorts.”

Megafires are wildfires over 100,000 acres and are exceptionally destructive to communities, wildlife and our natural spaces, as local area residents well know.

“The goal of the project is to help communities understand the issues surrounding megafires so that they can better participate in the conversation and begin driving towards solutions,” said Jeff Ostenson, director of the project. “I do believe we can change the way we receive wildfire and related smoke but it’s going to take everyone playing their part.”

After the “Era of Megafires” presentation and Q&A, representatives from the Okanogan Conservation District, Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Forest Service, Okanogan Land Trust, Okanogan County Emergency Management, and CCT Environmental Trust will be available to talk with audience members about programs and services that can help residents prepare for and recover from wildfires.

Okanogan Conservation District, Colville Confederated Tribes Environmental Trust Department, North 40 Productions, and the U.S. Forest Service are bringing the presentation.

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