After the Smoke Clears

A review of a series of educational forums held after the Eagle Creek fire

After the Smoke Clears
Click the image above to watch a summary video of the After the Smoke Clears forum presentations by fire ecologists.
As the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area continues to recover from the aftermath of the Eagle Creek fire, questions remain about the impacts and implications of this dramatic event on the health of the forests and surrounding wildlife.

In late 2017, over a dozen conservation and community groups came together to sponsor After the Smoke Clears, a series of educational public forums on how to best support the recovery of the Columbia Gorge. These forums were held in Portland (Nov. 13), Troutdale (Nov. 29), and Hood River (Nov. 30). All three forums featured insights from a collection of noted fire ecologists and leaders from local business, conservation, and recreation organizations. In conjunction with the Hood River forum, Friends of the Columbia Gorge also hosted a special Gorge fire ecology telebriefing for members of the press.

To extend the reach of these discussions, Friends has converted fire-ecologist presentations featured in the After the Smoke Clears forums, plus the Jerry Franklin telepresser into a series of YouTube videos: Fire can be very traumatic and devastating, particularly for people with homes, businesses, and livelihoods that are disrupted, or even destroyed, by wildfires. But we also know that fire is an inevitable aspect of forest ecosystems, and in many ways very beneficial for those ecosystems, so we need to plan our forest management accordingly.

We hope these videos will help provide a better understanding of the complex relationship forest lands have with fire, as well as help all of us prepare for more wildfires in the future in a way that works with, instead of in opposition to, the natural ecosystems and mechanisms of the forests.

More About After the Smoke Clears

Within days after the Eagle Creek fire started, leaders from regional conservations groups gathered to discuss ways to keep public discourse about the fire focused and constructive. Co-sponsors for resulting the After the Smoke Clears forum series included:
  • Audubon Society of Portland
  • Bark
  • Crag Law Center
  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge
  • Mazamas
  • Oregon Wild
  • Sierra Club
  • Trailkeepers of Oregon
The Hood River Community forum was also co-sponsored by Columbia Riverkeeper, Hood River Soil and Water Conservation District, Hood River Valley Residents Committee, and the Underwood Conservation District.