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Nature Conservancy


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Eastern Oregon, Central Oregon / Columbia Gorge, Southern Oregon, Willamette Valley / Portland Metro

Oregon Forests Need Fire

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  • This article describes the need for more low-severity fire events in the Oregon dry forests, after many years of wildfire prevention with limited burning.
  • While large, severe wildfires can threaten communities and forest health, smaller fires are necessary for Oregon's dry forests to remove brush and overgrowth.
  • Management techniques such as prescribed burning, tree removal, and severe wildfire mitigation can help restore the ecological balance of the forest.
Teaching Tips


  • The article contains diagrams that help the reader understand the balance between low-severity and destructive wildfires, as well as different dry forest management techniques.
  • This article helps clear up a confusing topic regarding the benefits of necessary fires.
  • The infographics and diagrams are excellent and they will be very helpful for visual learners.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Learners should have a basic understanding of the threats and benefits of fires in forests.
  • Learners should understand that forests are managed to balance the needs of nature and nearby communities.


  • Have students investigate different forest management techniques and describe why varying forest habitats are managed in different ways.
  • Ask the question, "Explain how low-severity fires can help make a forest more resilient?"
  • Consider having students write a history of a forest in narrative form from the perspective of the trees, as a literary and scientific exercise.
  • Have students expand upon the graphic showing the fire-suppressed forest versus the ecologically managed forest by drawing a cartoon including wildlife, like mammals and birds.
Scientist Notes
This article provided by the Nature Conservatory discusses the lack of wildfires in Oregon's forests. The article discusses the concern Oregonians have around wildfires, the history of suppression, and the studies that have been conducted to ensure the restoration of forests. There are great graphs that visually represent the issues and a link is provided in the text to the study about wildfire suppression. This article would be a great addition to a classroom discussion about wildfires, climate change, and steps that can be taken by communities to reduce their exposure.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • MS-LS2-4 Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11-12 texts and topics.
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