By Sally Deneen, InvestigateWest | December 20, 2017 | The Weather Channel
Close your eyes. Picture your ideal forest. Maybe you’re strolling noiselessly on a soft leaf-littered path in dark peaceful woods scented by plentiful evergreens – trees that stretch as far as the eye can see. Shrubs carpet the floor. Young spindly trees, dwarfed by older evergreens, reach skyward in search of sun rays.
Sound great? Such a scene gives scientist Paul Hessburg the willies.
Clad in black jeans and sporting a drooping, greying mustache, the veteran forest scientist crisscrosses the Northwest to warn his audiences of impending disaster. On this Thursday night he tells about 100 rapt audience members from the population 1,674 town of John Day, Oregon, that they and everyone in the countryside need to start thinking differently about wildfires. Because of climate change.