Oregon wildfires released far less greenhouse gas than previously estimated, researchers say


After the B&B Complex fire in the Metolius River watershed in 2003, some researchers estimated that the fire released six times more carbon dioxide -- a global warming gas -- than all other energy and fossil fuel use that year in Oregon.

But the OSU researchers observed forest growth in the Metolius basin in Oregon's Cascade Range, concluding that far fewer trees were burned -- 1 percent to 3 percent versus earlier estimates of 30 percent.

…Timber harvest has much more effect on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere than fire, the researchers said.

…Researchers Garrett Meigs, a forestry research assistant and Beverly Law, a professor of forest ecosystems and society, observed generally abundant tree regeneration in the Metolius watershed.