Blue Dot 126: Dr. Don Hankins
Dave learns about fighting fire with fire in this episode as he talks to CSU Chico Professor of Geography Don Hankins. Dr. Hankins teaches a course called "Pyrogeography" examining the role of fire on both landscapes and the communities that inhabit them. Hankins is a firm believer in the importance of using prescribed burning techniques to control fuel loads and enhance the native ecology of areas throughout California that evolved with fire as a natural element of their ecosystems.
Indigenous people that have lived in these landscapes for thousands of years have always used fire as a tool to alter the land to make it more favorable for their activities from hunting and fishing to travel and basket making. But after a 150 years of wildfire suppression in the west, fuel loads have built up to the point that they are major contributors to the rise of "megafires." such as the Carr and Camp fire events that devastated Northern California this year.