Native American Burning And California's Wildfire Strategy : Short Wave Fire has always been part of California's landscape. But long before the vast blazes of recent years, Native American tribes held controlled burns that cleared out underbrush, encouraged new plant growth, and helped manage wildfires. It's a tradition that disappeared with the arrival of Western settlers. NPR climate correspondent Lauren Sommer explains how tribal leaders are trying to restore the practice by partnering up with state officials who are starting to see cultural burns as a way to help bring extreme wildfires under control.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.
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Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burning

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Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burning

Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burning

Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burning

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Ron Goode and Ray Gutteriez keep an eye on a burning sourberry bush. Lauren Sommer/NPR hide caption

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Lauren Sommer/NPR

Ron Goode and Ray Gutteriez keep an eye on a burning sourberry bush.

Lauren Sommer/NPR

Fire has always been part of California's landscape. But long before the vast blazes of recent years, Native American tribes held controlled burns that cleared out underbrush, encouraged new plant growth, and helped manage wildfires. It's a tradition that disappeared with the arrival of Western settlers.

NPR climate correspondent Lauren Sommer explains how tribal leaders are trying to restore the practice by partnering up with state officials who are starting to see cultural burns as a way to help bring extreme wildfires under control.

You can read Lauren's story here.

Email the show at shortwave@npr.org.

This episode was produced by Brent Baughman, fact-checked by Rebecca Ramirez, and edited by Viet Le.