Controlled Burn

Where I grew up, we used controlled burns to manage land. Generations ago the landscape was much more open, and drought and lightning strikes did naturally what we do now with flamethrowers and fuel.

The fires have a purpose. They clear out brush and make way for new growth. They remove choking weeds and leave the larger trees to thrive with less competition for water.

Before anything was built or permanent, fire could sweep across the land in a natural cycle of burn and regrow. Once ranchers moved in, the need to stop fire became critical to protect what they’d built. The beneficial fires became destructive to the new elements of the landscape, but were still needed for ecological health.

Wildfires were considered bad for a few generations, until we understood how necessary they are. We now use controlled burns to have the benefit without the total destruction. You have to monitor conditions, play it smart and be prepared for things to go horribly wrong. And a lot of the time you pray.

It’s not a bad analogy for where I’ve found myself. Had I let a few things burn, I might not have had so much catch fire outside my control. Had I prepared, I might not have had to scramble so hard to try to get things under control. Clearing out needed to happen one way or another, I just got the wildfire instead of the controlled burn.

New growth comes regardless.

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