Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burns : 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. (Encore episode)

Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burns

Managing Wildfire Through Cultural Burns

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Ron Goode and Ray Gutteriez keep an eye on a burning sourberry bush. After the bushes are burned in the winter, they sprout again in the spring. NPR hide caption

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Ron Goode and Ray Gutteriez keep an eye on a burning sourberry bush. After the bushes are burned in the winter, they sprout again in the spring.

NPR

(Encore episode) 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, edited by Viet Le and fact-checked by Rebecca Ramirez.