As the summer progresses and the dry season comes upon us, the likelihood of forest fires significantly increases. While wildfires have always been an issue during the dry season, the combination of climate change, drought, and insects has not only increased the occurrence of forest fires and extended their season, but also has grown the size, damage inflicted, and cost of fighting them. Whether it’s lower snowpacks, drier springs, longer summers, or disease and damage, the forest’s trees are dying, and those dead trees present the perfect tinder for forest fires.

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The devastation and tree loss inflicted by wildfires is staggering, as just last year 10 million of the country’s 766 million acres of forest were consumed by fire. Through much of time, forest fires were part of nature’s natural cycle; an examination of most older trees’ stump-rings will show burn marks every 10 to 40 years. Those fires would remove leaf litter, needles, and undergrowth that provide the fuel for forest fires. Before man’s interference, the forest moderated itself—small restorative fires burned away much of the tinder and brush while creating room for new growth. However, because of today’s zealous fire prevention measures and the increase of dead trees in the forest, the perfect conditions are in place for massive and deadly fires.

It’s shocking to realize how delicate the forest is, and how one small change impacts and influences other shifts in the woods. While our forest fire prevention techniques have changed the way the forest self-regulates and created more favorable conditions for large-scale fires, climate change has affected the ecosystem in which trees live. Drier springs, hotter summers, and drought have not only stressed trees, but have also created a more supportive environment for insects to live.

The climate shift has created a perfect storm for insects and, as a result, large-scale forest fires. Without long, cold winters, the bug population has exploded. Even more concerning is that the trees already stressed from longer, hotter summers and drought are unable to fight the pests off or regenerate. Throughout the United States, pine beetles, bark beetles, and gypsy moths, among numerous other pests, are wreaking havoc on our forests and leaving behind staggering numbers of dead trees. In other words, more fuel for massive fires.  

If our forests are to survive, everyone must cooperate in their management—from the forest service to foresters to loggers. The forest product industry is continuing to find new uses for dead or damaged trees with products such as wood pellets and cross-laminated timber (CLT), while selective logging can help simulate the forest’s natural cycles. No matter what type of forest operation you have, Primex forestry tires are there to help. Incredibly rugged and dependable, Primex tires are engineered to operate in the deepest and densest forests and on the heaviest and most advanced equipment. Even better, innovative tires like the Primex LogStomper Super Flotation help reduce damage to the delicate forest floor, making regeneration easier.  

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Contact your Alliance Tire Group dealer today to learn more about Primex forestry tires and how they can help your operation.