DISCUSSION: Reread around line 55 for the full context of this question. The author is recommending two steps:
- Reduce excess fuel, so that fires won’t be horribly destructive.
- Once excess fuel is removed, allow maintenance burns every 15-20 years.
It sounds like the periodic fires every 15-20 years will maintain the lower level of fuel in the forests.
Lines 50-54 describe these fires. They’re either controlled burns we set ourselves, or fires caused by lightning when conditions are damp.
- Not quite, though I can see how this is tempting. “Maintenance burns” doesn’t just refer to the old style of fire. If it did, then we would never set fires, and we would allow lightning fires to burn even if conditions were dry. Lines 50-54 show that the author instead recommends intentional fires, and letting lightning fires burn only when conditions are damp.
- The author recommends reducing the density of young, small trees. Mature trees are the ones we want to leave standing. See lines 12-14.
- Modern North American forests have too much fuel. If we allow fires to occur before we remove fuel, they fires will be very destructive. See lines 27-31.
- No fires used to occur at intervals “greater than 50 years”. 50 years is only referenced in line 30 – it’s the length of time we have prevented fires from occurring in forests.
- CORRECT. See lines 50-54 as well as line 55. The author says that maintenance burns are fires that we set and control, or lightning fires that we allow to burn when conditions are damp.
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