The Ecological Benefits of Letting Wildfires Burn

In a combustible episode of Things You Might Not Know, host Tom Scott flew above the forests of British Columbia in a helicopter piloted by Bradley Friesen, human to the adorable, highflying bulldog named Bentley, to explain why it’s better to let some wildfires burn, rather than trying to extinguish them completely. Dr. Lori Daniels, a professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia Tree Ring Lab further explained the benefits of wildfire.

Often, when we see fires, we look at them and think they’re destructive, but in truth, many fires do more good than harm. We see, in our northern forests, trees are actually adapted to release their seeds and to grow back after a major fire, which burns from tree top to tree top and kills those trees, creating large openings. ….cleanses the forest, takes away the dead grasses, the branches that have accumulated down on the ground, but leaves the big trees that are resistant to that fire and create a very healthy ecosystem that is dependent on fire.