The original Earth Day on April 22, 1970, billed as “The First National Environmental Teach-In,” came about with the mounting concern that the global environment was slowly being disassembled. Humans were consuming natural resources faster than the planet could renew them and future sustainability of life on the planet, as it was then known, was questionable.
Rapid population growth, disappearance of plant and animal species, and air and water pollution were combining to bring mounting pressure on the environment.
The history of Plumas County has always included episodes of wildland fire. Some of it has been the result of lightning strikes, while other fires were the result of human activity, planned or otherwise.
Long before the settlers arrived, the native Maidu used fire as a tool for understory clearing. Accidental fires became more frequent as greater numbers of humans interacted with the forest. Along the way, most of us lost our understanding of the beneficial natural role of fire in our environment. Instead, we embarked on a century-long campaign to eradicate all wildland fire, as quickly as possible, while minimizing any compensating activity to reduce the inevitable buildup of understory fuels in the forest. Our intentions were good, but the result wasn’t.