25-Fire: Forests under (mega)fire in the Pacific Northwest

Climate change is accelerating as human-made greenhouse gasses continue to warm our atmosphere.  Megafires certainly evoke climate change doomsday feelings, but are these types of fires new to the PNW or were similar instances occurring prior to 2020?  To answer these questions we talked to Matthew Reilly, a United States Forest Service scientist, about the causes of these megafires and what we can expect in the upcoming decades.

This episode was produced by Jessica Buser-Young and mixed by Collin Warren. Illustration by Jace Steiner.


Shane Hanlon:              00:00                Hi, Vicki.

Vicky Thompson:           00:00                Hi, Shane.

Shane Hanlon:              00:01                Are you a campfire kind of person?

Vicky Thompson:           00:03                Campfire person. Yeah, I love a campfire.

Shane Hanlon:              00:05                Yeah?

Vicky Thompson:           00:06                Yeah.

Shane Hanlon:              00:06                Any fond memories of a campfire or anything that brings to mind when you smell that good wood smoke?

Vicky Thompson:           00:16                Wood smoke.

Shane Hanlon:              00:17                Wood smoke is a weird phrase. Anyways, campfires.

Vicky Thompson:           00:19                Wood smoke. Yeah. No, I like campfires. We have a big fire pit in my backyard, so I feel like I haven’t gone traditional camping in a really long time, but we have this fire pit and as soon as it gets cold, it’s every weekend we have a fire. It’s really fun.

Shane Hanlon:              00:36                Yeah. So, as you know, I’m getting married very soon.

Vicky Thompson:           00:42                I know.

Shane Hanlon:              00:43                And we added a solo stove to our registry. Do you know what a solo stove is?

Vicky Thompson:           00:48                No. What is that?

Shane Hanlon:              00:48                I honestly don’t know if it’s a gimmick or it’s great, but it’s a stove. It’s a campfire stove, but it is designed, it’s steel. It’s designed so that there’s no smoke. Basically the smoke gets dissipated away. So it’s supposed to be smokeless. I don’t know. It’s neat.

Vicky Thompson:           01:05                Is it outdoors?

Shane Hanlon:              01:06                Yes, it’s a big steel cylinder.

Vicky Thompson:           01:09                So will you not smell like campfire? You won’t have that.

Shane Hanlon:              01:12                So that’s in theory. Yeah. Which I, frankly love the smell of campfire smoke. I actually have, not campfire, but my parents, so my parents both retired, but my dad retired, I don’t know, however many years ago. He got really bored because he was retired. My parents live in the country on rural Pennsylvania, and he took up the hobby of chopping wood. They bought a wood furnace. Their house is now heated by a wood furnace. Some of us have oil and natural gas, whatever it is, they have wood.

Vicky Thompson:           01:46                Okay, so not a wood burning stove, a wood furnace. Is this different? Is it a different concept?

Shane Hanlon:              01:51                I mean, it’s the same idea. It has a bigger capacity.

Vicky Thompson:           01:55                Okay.

Shane Hanlon:              01:55                And he has chopped and stacked miles of wood probably. And every time we go back to my parents’ house, their house smells like campfire. And so some people love that, some people do not. But I can always tell when I’ve gone back home to where I grew up that it’s for days, and depending on when I wear things, or sometimes it’s a month later and I pull out something that I took back to their place and it still smells like that very strong, I don’t know, that wood smoke smell. So it’s very nice for me actually.

Vicky Thompson:           02:29                That’s a nice wood smoke camp fire memory.

Shane Hanlon:              02:34                I do what I can. I try to bring us all up.

                                    02:41                Science is fascinating. But don’t just take my word for it. Join us as we hear stories from scientists for everyone. I’m Shane Hanlon.

Vicky Thompson:           02:50                And I’m Vicky Thompson.

Shane Hanlon:              02:52                And this is Third Pod from the Sun. All right. So we know that I love the smell of wood smoke, but wood smoke has earned a negative reputation, especially because it just hangs over the Pacific Northwest and across the US as forest burn. And as an East Coaster looking in from the outside, these fires seem to be a lot more frequent and more devastating. But I wonder is that actually the case? And so today we’re hearing from producer Jessica [inaudible 00:03:32] Young about Pacific Northwest Fire Ecology. Hi Jessica.

Jessica Buser-Young:     03:36                Hi Shane.

Shane Hanlon:              03:37                So what did you find out about, I’m just going to say PNW from here on out just because it’s easier. What did you find out about PNW fires?

Jessica Buser-Young:     03:47                Honestly, how complicated the interactions are between the fire and the forest. There are so many factors that can change how forest fires burn and it’s something you could honestly dedicate your whole career to much like the Forest Service researcher Matthew Reilly.

Vicky Thompson:           04:04                So I imagine that it’s research like this that helps communities not only understand risks involved with fires, but also how we can use our past experiences to understand our future fire future in terms of climate change.

Jessica Buser-Young:     04:18                Exactly. Matthew is an expert in PNW fire history and fire ecology. He’s currently applying his lifelong knowledge to understand how forests respond to fires and of course what the broader implications are for biodiversity and ecology.

Shane Hanlon:              04:35                Great. Let’s get into it.

Matthew Reilly:            04:39                My name’s Matthew Reilly and I work for the USDA Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest Research Station here in Corvallis. And I work with the Western Wildlands Environmental Threat Assessment Center, which is part of the big picture there.

Jessica Buser-Young:     05:00                Great. So how did you get into this work?

Matthew Reilly:            05:03                Well, I guess growing up, I grew up in Massachusetts and kind of a rural community and my mother sent me to all these nature day camps and things like that during the summer. And then initially when I went to college, I wanted to study marine science and all the physical oceanography and organism biology was a little bit of a turn off to me. And let’s see, I had read this book called Woods Woman by Anne LaBastille, who was, I think she was an ornithologist and just this really neat book about her living in this cabin in the Adirondacks and focused on her observations and really just of got me into ecology as a whole. And I ended up transferring as an undergraduate to the University of Vermont and studying forestry and natural resources.

Jessica Buser-Young:     05:53                Great. So what led you to Oregon of all places?

Matthew Reilly:            05:57                I moved to Oregon in 2010. I had been working in the southeastern United States, did my master’s degree at the University of Georgia. And really I was drawn out here by the big trees and the old world forests and the spectacular landscapes. I love to ski. The skiing is much better in Oregon than in Georgia.

Jessica Buser-Young:     06:19                Yeah.

Matthew Reilly:            06:19                And yeah, I’ve just sort of fallen in love with the landscapes and there’s just so much to see and to study.

Jessica Buser-Young:     06:28                That’s so great. So as a forest ecologist, do you spend a lot of time out in forest, out in the field?

Matthew Reilly:            06:37                Not as much as I would like to. But yeah, before coming back to do the PhD, I spent a lot of years working in the field doing plant surveys and things like that, all over the southeastern United States. And these days I get out in the field opportunistically when I can so.

Jessica Buser-Young:     06:53                Yeah. Oh, for sure. What was one of your most favorite times out in the field?

Matthew Reilly:            07:01                Gee, I’ve worked in a lot of different places back east and out west, and I really had this foundational experience. After I transferred to the University of Vermont, I took a year off and spent a year living in this old growth bottom and hardwood and cypress swamp in South [inaudible 00:07:19]

Jessica Buser-Young:     07:18                Oh wow.

Matthew Reilly:            07:21                And so I was out there living in this cabin by myself on the edge of the swamp, and I did an undergraduate thesis and we were studying the response of the floodplain forests to Hurricane Hugo, which had gone through about maybe 18 years before.

Jessica Buser-Young:     07:37                Wow.

Matthew Reilly:            07:37                Yeah, a really neat chance to learn about doing field work and old growth forests and really how disturbances like hurricanes and fire change our forests.

Shane Hanlon:              07:46                One of my first field experiences as a researcher had to do with forest ecology.

Vicky Thompson:           07:59                Yeah. Do you have fond memories of that?

Shane Hanlon:              08:05                No. No, I was looking at disturbances, but not due to hurricanes or fire, but actually deer. Awful, pervasive, whitetailed deer. Yeah, I was literally out there sitting on the forest floor counting the number of flowers to see how much the deer were eating. It took me a very long time after that to really appreciate plants again.

Vicky Thompson:           08:28                That actually sounds kind of meditative.

Shane Hanlon:              08:32                It was not. And younger me was not in a meditative state to say the least.

Jessica Buser-Young:     08:40                Well, so sticking with non deer disturbances, we are going to focus on the PNW in our discussion today. So in terms of forest fire ecology, I was wondering what has the PNW experienced historically? And so I asked Matthew to describe the area.

Matthew Reilly:            08:57                Well, it really depends where you are. It’s a very diverse region, very climatically and biophysically diverse. We have these coastal mesic, wet temperate rain forests along the coast, and then these sub alpine forests on the cascade crest. And then as you go down onto the east side, it really dries out. There’s this incredible transition. So we go from these really moist forests to these dry forests. And so there’s a summer drought and temperature and productivity, how quickly forests grow. Those are all really important.

Jessica Buser-Young:     09:31                Humans have such a great impact on the forest fire ecology that we’ve seen historically and even today. What if humans didn’t exist here? What would the forest ecology look like then?

Matthew Reilly:            09:44                I think there would certainly be a lot more fire.

Jessica Buser-Young:     09:47                Really?

Matthew Reilly:            09:48                Yeah. One of these, we live in a fire prone region. Some of the historical fire work that I’ve been fortunate to been part of is the area where the Bootleg fire was last year. This one fire history, they had 80,000 acre fires every 10 years. It’s an incredible amount of burning. Yeah, very high frequency, very, very large fires in some of those landscapes where there’s few barriers to stop fire spread. And so I think we really, fire managers do a tremendous job in putting fires out.

                                    10:26                Something like 99% of all ignitions are extinguished and it’s a really necessary part of living with fire today. And inevitably we hear about those big fires that do escape and have really, really significant impacts. But the number of fires that they’re effective at putting out is really astonishing.

Jessica Buser-Young:     10:48                So I’m hearing that fires are generally snuffed out before they grow very large.

Matthew Reilly:            10:53                Prescribed fires are a great management tool. In these cases sometimes they enable managers to put fire down under relatively safe conditions where they can meet management goals. The amount of fire here in the Pacific Northwest, especially on the east side, was really at great spatial scales, large fires and very frequent. And so it really is a great tool for managers who are looking to do restoration or control fuels or foster fire diversity depending where you are.

Jessica Buser-Young:     11:28                Right. So as you’ve said, the PNW is very fire prone. So how do these fires typically start?

Matthew Reilly:            11:35                So of course we have lightning here in the Pacific Northwest, which is an important source of ignition, but there are also Native Americans here for thousands of years that practice some really extensive tribal burning practices, whether it be to manage the vegetation for food or other resources. There were people out there that were starting fires. Here in the Willamette Valley prior to all these Douglas firs that we see today, it was primarily a white oak woodland.

Jessica Buser-Young:     12:06                Oh, interesting.

Matthew Reilly:            12:07                Yeah, very, very frequent. We don’t have a lot of lightning here. And so yeah, places like Northern California are very important, the east side. And even on the west side here, things like huckleberries were really important tribal resources. And so a very important of ignition on the landscape that really has been excluded with European colonization and fire exclusion.

Jessica Buser-Young:     12:34                So what is fire exclusion?

Matthew Reilly:            12:37                Well, fire exclusion is essentially the putting out of fires and natural fire starts. And so it’s really been going on for probably over a century depending on where you are. And initially fire was misunderstood as an important ecological process. So we’ve seen the east side is a great example where some of these forests have missed 4, 5, 6, 7 fire cycles. And in the absence of that, which you’ve seen are increased densities. So more trees, more smaller trees, shifts in composition.

                                    13:15                So different species, you see these fire tolerant white fir, grand fir moving in and really changing the structure of those forests. And so historically when there was frequent fire in those forests that would’ve controlled fuels and killed small trees here and there and left the large trees, the big ponderosa pines is the backbone of the forest. But when you remove that, it allows everything to grow in. And so fuels are more continuous going from the ground to the canopy. So fires can get up into the canopy. And if you look out on aerial photo, you can see that canopies across landscapes are also more contiguous. And so fire can move more easily through those landscapes.

Shane Hanlon:              14:09                Vicki and I are on the east coast. Actually. We’re in the same room together, sitting very close to one another.

Vicky Thompson:           14:13                Yes. Prepandemic close.

Shane Hanlon:              14:17                Oh my goodness. But Jessica, you are in the PNW. So what has that been like?

Jessica Buser-Young:     14:24                Well, these fuel sources seem to really set the table for large fires. We see here in the PNW, especially the 2020 fires. As ash was literally following from the sky for several days, it felt really surreal and a little terrifying. I still find ash in my house and at work sometimes.

Shane Hanlon:              14:44                Yeah, I mean I know we even got remnants of smoke like out here. I mean how far it traveled was just wild.

Vicky Thompson:           14:50                Yeah, it’s really easy to feel extreme climate anxiety during times like these.

Jessica Buser-Young:     14:55                I agree. Especially something so explicit like extreme fires. It makes me wonder if the 2020 fires was a catastrophic climate catastrophe or perhaps there were other historical PNW fires of the same magnitude.

Matthew Reilly:            15:10                Sure. So most of what we know about historical fires on the west side at this point has really come from observations during the early 20th century. And so 1902 was a big year, the Yacolt burn and the Columbia burn in Southwest Washington and on the west side of Mount Hood, those were very, very large fires on the scale of 2020. The Tillamook burns in the thirties, forties and fifties were also similar fires, similar wind events, similar seasonality.

                                    15:45                And so one of the interesting thing about the Tillamook burns was that there was a series of reburns out there, I think every six years until the early fifties, there was another fire, some of them very large. And so it’s an interesting thing to think about these moist old growth forests that even during drought can stay moist and cooler and change that micro environment. We really have this legacy of these really, really large fires here on the west side, and they’re primarily due to those big wind events that are rare, but they are a characteristic part of the meteorology and fire ecology here on the west side.

Jessica Buser-Young:     16:27                Yeah, for sure. So can we expect these types of fires in our lifetimes again?

Matthew Reilly:            16:34                The potential is always there as long as those east winds happen and it’s expected that they will continue on into the future as they have in the past. And so it’s really a question of whether or not there are fires burning or ignitions when they happen. Certainly we haven’t had a large one since the fifties there and the Tillamook burns, but as we learned in 2020, all it takes is a couple ignitions and those strong east winds are just, there’s nothing to stop them when fires get going.

Jessica Buser-Young:     17:09                So how do the strong east winds fuel these fires as opposed to maybe strong west winds?

Matthew Reilly:            17:15                Yeah, so most of the winds that we get here in the Pacific Northwest are sort of off the Pacific Ocean and these east winds are characteristic. The Pacific Northwest is not the only place where they happen and there’s probably the best known example are the Santa Ana winds in Southern California where they’re actually very, very frequent. But what you get are these strong pressure gradients on either side of the cascades and this case cold arctic air, high pressure air that came in and these pressure gradients that then force that dry air down the west slopes of the cascades and they dry out and they accelerate as they move down slope. And in the case of 2020, I think lasted in some places for over 48 hours.

                                    17:59                If you think about some of the post 2020 fire landscapes where we have these large patches of high severity fire that are dominated by early seral grasses and things that dry out, the difference between the temperature in one of those open post-fire environments versus what you see in an old growth forest is potentially on the magnitude of what we expect with climate change. And so overnight it can really change that micro environment. And so the potential for reburns, we have the Tillamook burns as an example, and then the Yacolt burn. In 1902 was another one of these big fires and I think the Yacolt burn reburned 15 times in different areas in the next 50 years. So these big fires can really have potentially long term influence on what happens in the future so.

Jessica Buser-Young:     18:49                Yeah. So it sounds like there’s one major fire and then that creates a different vegetative ecology that’s easier to catch on fire from there. And then it’s this cycle that kind of perpetuates itself.

Matthew Reilly:            19:04                Yeah. And so eventually you get canopy closure and trees reestablish and it shifts from that more fire prone state to a closed canopy forest and potentially stays a little bit moisture and cooler.

                                    19:25                Fires, they’re part of ecosystem and forest dynamics. And they play an important ecological role. They create what we call early seral habitats. And so there are rich in biological legacies, things like big old trees that might have survived and snags, dead trees and downed wood. And there are lots of species, plant and animal species that have evolved with fire and really depend on it as habitat. And on the west side here where our forests are very productive, it’s fairly ephemeral. So as a stage of forest development, your early seral habitat minimally last 25 or 50 years before our trees established in the canopy closes. Whereas old growth can persist for four or 600 years or longer.

Jessica Buser-Young:     20:15                Wow.

Matthew Reilly:            20:17                So it’s a unique component of biodiversity. And in terms of salvage logging, it’s a values trade off. Everyone has their different perspective on salvage logging. If you love black-backed woodpeckers, which are a cavity nester, really dependent on dead trees, salvage logging is not good for your favorite animal’s habitat.

                                    20:38                If you’re a private landowner and you’re depending on that for some revenue or potentially to put your kids through college one day, it’s an integral part of how you make ends meet. And certainly dead trees pose hazards. And so they can fall. And so it’s a really important tool potentially for fuels management after fires and increasing accessibility through roads and things like that. So it’s a very controversial issue, but there’s trade offs and really multiple perspectives on it.

Jessica Buser-Young:     21:10                Late in 2021, a book was published that culminates the knowledge and expertise from over 70 experts on forest fire ecology and management across the US. Matthew, here with me today, was the lead scientist for the Pacific Northwest region where they discuss the past, present and future of forest fires in light of climate change.

Matthew Reilly:            21:32                It was really neat to work with meteorologists and fire managers and ecologists and folks with similar cultural perspectives and really try and bring that together into a single story that was approachable, not only by scientists, but hopefully by managers and even the public in some cases.

Jessica Buser-Young:     21:55                There was a consensus in this book that the Pacific Northwest as a whole, it will experience less forest fire in the last three decades than would be expected under historical conditions. Are you able to elaborate on that?

Matthew Reilly:            22:10                Sure, yeah. And I think it’s when I tell people this people’s jaws drops.

Jessica Buser-Young:     22:17                Mine did when I read that.

Matthew Reilly:            22:19                And so our perspectives are very much driven by our experiences and the places we see. And if you drive over [inaudible 00:22:27] towards Sisters, there’s been several large fires there in that landscape and they leave a lasting memory. But when you zoom out to a regional scale, historically on the east side, we had fires potentially every five to 25 years. And some of them were really, really large. Here on the west side we’re learning more about that. We didn’t just have these high severity wind driven fires, there were other more mixed severity fires that may have happened every 50 to 75 years. And it really is fire management, the forest service, and they do a tremendous job at putting out fires when they start to protect resources and people and things like that. And so when you zoom out, there is far less fire than there would’ve been historically, especially on the east side, although that’s changing very, very quickly.

Jessica Buser-Young:     23:23                Why is that changing?

Matthew Reilly:            23:25                Well, I think it’s climate change for sure. And the work that I did where we of stumbled upon that, “Wow, there’s actually less fire there than we would’ve expected historically.” That was maybe published five years ago and I feel like it’s outdated already because we’ve had these series of large, large fires and things can change very, very quickly. California, million acre fire. And so we have a novel fire regime here in the Pacific Northwest and fires may not be as frequent or burn as much area on an annual basis when you zoom up to that scale, but they are having extraordinary changes at landscape scales and changing the landscapes that we live in and recreate. And a lot of those places will never look the same in our lifetime.

Shane Hanlon:              24:25                One of those changes you mentioned earlier is the relationship between the east wind events and potential for ignition actually starting fire. I suppose the winds without any ignition don’t necessarily pose a threat.

Jessica Buser-Young:     24:40                Oh yeah, for sure. So it’s certainly a complicated relationship and it’s really only exacerbated by things like drought, precipitation changes and increased temperatures. So how can scientists understand that relationship and study how it’ll shift with climate change?

Matthew Reilly:            24:58                Yeah. And so these dry east wind events like we had in 2020, they’re characteristic of the meteorology here and back in the fifties. And this must have come out of some of the early 20th century fires and the Tillamook burns, but there was a researcher who went up to the Portland Airport and Owen Kramer was his name, and what he did was he harvested all the data that they had been collecting for several decades from these weather balloons that they would send up into the upper atmosphere on relative humidity and wind speed and in wind direction. And what he did was he very simply came up with a threshold for wind speed and relative humidity and just started looking at when these wind events are most likely to happen. And we really have a very specific window of vulnerability here in the Pacific Northwest. These winds are very, very rare prior to about mid-August. And then they really ramp up late August and especially early September. And so they can happen during this window of vulnerability.

                                    26:03                And most of the big fires that we’ve had here on the west side correspond with early September. And so it’s really an important time to be very conscious about where we’re having fires or barbecues on Labor Day. And it’s difficult to predict exactly when they’re going to happen in terms of on an annual scale, but there are tools that have been developed that can predict them a couple weeks out. And paying attention to those is going to be really, really important to avoid fires like that here in the future.

                                    26:36                Well, one of the big issues, particularly on the east side where high severity fires were not very common, we actually have very little evidence of some of these really large high severity fires in our dry ponderosa pine forests. And one of the big management concerns there are these large patches of high severity fires. So two or 5,000 acres, they’re going to leave a very lasting imprint on those landscapes. And it’s not rocket science, but the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. And so seeds need to disperse if there’s none of these biological legacies, you have issues with seeds having to disperse into these really, really large patches. And so the seeds need to get there. And then as we have increasing drought and harsher conditions, particularly at lower elevations, there’s a lot of concern for what the colleges refer to as type changes.

Jessica Buser-Young:     27:35                So what’s a type change?

Matthew Reilly:            27:37                Yeah, a place that once was an old growth forest and is now transformed into a meadow or a shrubland and places where we don’t see successful conifer regeneration. And so one of the big concerns for that, there’s a lot of work on post-fire regeneration and a lot of it shows that there are a fair amount of seedlings coming back, but these short interval reburns, so fires that happen really, really quickly back to back, they can eliminate any of those residual live trees. But if there is successful regeneration there, they can consume that as well. So I worked in, this was a relatively small fire down in northern California, maybe 5,000 acres or so, but there had been a series of two short term repeated fires and 15 years from that first fire until we went out there, it went from dense old growth habitat to essentially a meadow that had been converted to annual grasses and fords and things like that. So yeah, lots of concern about that these days.

Jessica Buser-Young:     28:48                Yeah, so why is that concerning?

Matthew Reilly:            28:51                Well, if we want to mitigate climate change and keep forests out there on the landscape and sequester carbon, getting trees back in the ground to do that is very, very important. We also have lots of forest dependent species and we need to provide habitat. And so early seral habitat creation and even some of these short interval reburns could have maintained early seral habitats for longer in some places and potentially created meadows and things like that at small scales. But there’s a lot of concern about the scale and the size at which that’s happening now.

Jessica Buser-Young:     29:29                Yeah, so I always hear plant a tree, save the planet, this sounds exactly right up that alley.

Matthew Reilly:            29:37                There’s large scale reforestation efforts going on to replant these forests that we’ve lost. And one of the big hurdles is just the scale at which these fires are happening and the amount of acres that needs to be replanted. And if you think about if we had a consistent creation or loss of forest and we had to replant 10,000 acres every year, it’d be pretty easy to plan for. Maybe pretty easy is probably an overstatement. But you could at least logistically come up with a plan to say, “We need this many seedlings per year and this is what we’ll do.”

                                    30:16                But when you have million acre fires and 80 or 90,000 acre fires even and they’re unpredictable, there’s a shortage of seedlings. And so there’s a lot of logistics that go into planning and reforestation and the planning part just seems like a really, really difficult thing, not knowing what you were going to need for your resources for the next couple years and just really, really hard to plan for. I think these days everybody has seen a fire at this point. It’s a different perspective or observation on how it’s affected their place and favorite place to recreate or [inaudible 00:30:59].

Jessica Buser-Young:     30:58                Yeah, for sure.

Shane Hanlon:              31:07                Unfortunately, fire is or is going to become part of everyone’s lives.

Vicky Thompson:           31:14                Yeah, I’m just really thankful that folks like Matthew are out there fighting the good fight.

Shane Hanlon:              31:18                Definitely. And with that, that’s all from Third Pod from the Sun.

Vicky Thompson:           31:24                Thanks so much, Jessica for bringing us this story and to Matthew for sharing his work with us.

Shane Hanlon:              31:28                This episode was produced by Jessica with audio engineering from Colin Warren, artwork by Jay Steiner.

Vicky Thompson:           31:35                We’d love to hear your thoughts on the podcast. Please rate and review us and you can find new episodes on your favorite podcasting app or at thirdpodfromthesun.com.

Shane Hanlon:              31:43                Thanks all, and we’ll see you next week.

                                    31:50                What does he say coming out of this? [inaudible 00:31:53] fires? Have you ever been in an area with forest fires?

Vicky Thompson:           32:03                I guess, well, land fires. I don’t think you’d call them forest fires. So I grew up in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and there often fires in the Meadowlands growing up. And I’m not sure why, actually I never really thought about it. I don’t know if it was dry or if it was. There’s like a lot of industry there, like what caused it or what exasperated it.

Shane Hanlon:              32:25                Yeah.

Vicky Thompson:           32:26                Exasperated, exasperated, it doesn’t matter. You know what I mean?

Shane Hanlon:              32:31                Exacerbated, exacerbated.

Vicky Thompson:           32:33                It’s exacerbated.


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