In recent years — and 2020 is no exception — parts of the Pacific Northwest that are typically too wet to burn are experiencing more frequent, severe and larger wildfires due to changes in climate. New research from Portland State University found that while the increased wildfire activity is causing widespread changes in the structure and composition of these mid-to-high elevation forests, the new landscapes are also likely more resilient to projected upward trends in future fire activity and climate conditions.
The study, led by PSU graduate student Sebastian Busby, examined temperate forests that burned expansively, severely and repeatedly between 2003 and 2015 in the central Cascade Range of Oregon and Washington. On Mt. Adams, these wildfires included the 2008 Cold Springs, 2012 Cascade Creek and 2015 Cougar Creek fires. On Mt. Jefferson, the wildfires included the 2003 Booth and Bear Butte Complex, 2007 Warm Springs Area Lightning Complex and