Originally published in the Yosemite Journal, December 2018.
Shanelle Saunders, acting fire information officer and lead firefighter on the Wawona Engine Module for Yosemite National Park, shares why fires are good for the forest.
What got you interested in wildland fire?
Shanelle: I initially started working in wildland fire to put myself through school. I realized that fire is such a big part of forest management, which has been a passion of mine since high school.
Do you see fire season in California getting worse?
Shanelle: Not necessarily worse, just longer. When we don’t get wet weather in the winters, it makes everything drier and lengthens our season. At this point, Southern California is experiencing a year-round fire season. Ours here in the park has become longer by a month or two already.