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At 6:00 p.m. on March 4, Wilderness Workshop will host a virtual presentation about Colorado’s record-setting 2020 fire season. The event will be held via Zoom and Facebook and is free and open to the public.

The event will be hosted by speaker Philip Higuera. Higuera is an associate professor at the University of Montana where he directs Paleoecology and Fire Ecology Lab. He teaches courses on fire and disturbance ecology. Research in his lab spans western North America and has revealed how fire activity varies with climate change in recent decades and the distant past.

Wildfires are among the top natural hazard concerns in Colorado.

It also shows how forest ecosystems have responded to these changes. Higuera spent the summer of 1999 as an ACES naturalist before attending graduate school at the University of Washington. Since 2006, varying components of his research have focused on fire history and ecological change in Colorado forests, Rocky Mountain National Park, and beyond.

Colorado’s record-setting 2020 fire season exemplified a decades-long trend of increasing fire activity across the West, well-correlated with climate change and increasingly paired with devastating human impacts.

In his presentation, Higuera will help make sense of such extreme events by drawing on long-term perspective gained from palaeoecological records of climate, fire, and forest history in Colorado subalpine forests spanning the past 6,000 years.

Paired with contemporary observations and fire ecology, participants will learn what aspects of ongoing change in the subalpine forests are “business as usual,” what aspects are unprecedented and what to anticipate as forests continue to adjust to a rapidly warming world.

Click here to register for the event.