Cultural fire is good fire, and California needs more of it

Materials from a convening for the Chumash Good Fire Project this summer. Courtesy photo

By Shana Lombard, High Country News

When it comes to climate change mitigation, using fire in scientific ways in order to minimize wildfire damage may seem like an unlikely solution. And yet it is a long-standing Indigenous tradition that not only helps create healthier, more fire-resilient landscapes, it also renews soil nutrients and reinforces plant diversity. That why it’s often known as “good fire.”

For years, Indigenous fire stewards and academics have worked together to protect California’s native landscape from the impacts of climate change through the use of cultural approaches like good fire. In August, that collaboration — dubbed the Collaborative of Native Nations for Climate Transformation and Stewardship (CNNCTS) — received $7.1 million from the state government. This funding will allow the organization to learn more about how invasive species affect flora and to study how cultural fire can build a more fire-resilient landscape. CNNCTS will work with the Native Coast Action Network (NCAN), an Indigenous women-led nonprofit focused on culture and the environment, with $200,000 of the total funding going to Indigenous fire-stewardship training.

Read more at High Country News.