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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 30

Wildfires--they're not all bad

BY AMY ASMAN

Wildfire is often viewed as only a destructive force that threatens humans, animals, and property, but in California it also plays an integral role in shaping our regional ecology. Locals can learn more about the relationship between fire and the environment at a free lecture by fire ecologist Jon E. Keeley on Oct. 11 at the Solvang Library, 1845 Mission Drive. The lecture, which is being sponsored by the Santa Ynez Natural History Society, starts at 7 p.m.

Keeley's presentation, “Fire in Mediterranean Ecosystems,” will cover the impact of fire in California and the four other Mediterranean-climate areas of the world. He’ll examine the evolution of species within those systems and the ways in which humans have adapted to living in fire-prone environments. Keeley is co-author of the new book Fire in Mediterranean Ecosystems, which he will be signing after his talk.

“The Mediterranean climate’s seasonally high temperatures and dry conditions have combined to expand fire’s footprint on the landscape, which has had profound effects on vegetation,” Keeley explained in a press release. “Our book probes the role of fire and how it affects these regions.” 

Keeley is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Three Rivers, Calif., and an adjunct professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. He has been publishing scientific papers on the subject of wildfire in California for more than 35 years.