Timber Wars

‘Timber Wars’ bonus episode: Wildfire

By Aaron Scott (OPB)
Jan. 28, 2021 7 p.m.

The fight over wildfire and forest management is the newest front in the Timber Wars, so after a year of record fires, we take a deep dive into OPB’s reporting on wildfire and what we should do about it.

In 2020, record wildfires swept across the West, consuming millions of acres of forest and destroying thousands of homes and even whole communities.


And sadly, this is just the beginning. Fire is the future here in the West. But what we often forget is that fire is also the past. It’s what our landscape has evolved with. The tricky question is figuring out how we fit into that.

So we wanted to bring you a bonus episode that dives into some of the reporting OPB has done around wildfire. Because fighting over fire is really the new front in the Timber Wars. The battle lines are basically the same, it’s just the details of the argument that have changed. Now instead of jobs versus owls and old growth, the argument is over whether logging prevents catastrophic wildfires or makes them worse.

To learn more about the stories included in this bonus episode, follow these links:

Despite what the logging industry says, cutting down trees isn’t stopping catastrophic wildfires by Jes Burns and Tony Schick

Efforts to reduce wildfire risk fall short, buck science by Tony Schick and Jes Burns

Why many Northwest animals and plants need wildfire by Aaron Scott


Can ‘Moneyball’ fix how the west manages wildfire? by Tony Schick

How fire consumed the Forest Service budget by Tony Schick

When it comes to wildfire, politics lag behind science by Cassandra Profita and Jeff Mapes

We’re putting more homes on wild lands and in the path of wildfires by Ashley Ahearn

Wildfires open forests for wildlife and research by Karen Richards, KLCC

Related: 'Timber Wars' - an episode guide

Hosted and produced by OPB’s Aaron Scott in collaboration with 30 Minutes West (“Bundyville,” “Outside Podcast”), and with original music by the singer-songwriter Laura Gibson, “Timber Wars” is a seven-part podcast series from Oregon Public Broadcasting that tells the behind-the-scenes story of how a small group of activists and scientists turned the fight over ancient trees and the spotted owl into one of the biggest environmental conflicts of the 20th century. Episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the NPR One app and most other podcast apps.

In addition to the podcast, OPB has launched an accompanying e-mail newsletter series that combines the podcast with further OPB reporting to take readers through the history of this epic battle — and explores the ways it’s playing out still — in stories, images, videos and more. You can explore the series here.

The Timber Wars newsletter.