Scientists hail beavers as overlooked allies in fight against wildfires

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As wildfires raged in the American West, scientists discovered that help was coming from an overlooked source: tireless dam-building by beavers. Research by Emily Fairfax, an assistant professor of environmental science at California State University Channel Islands, showed how beavers dig little channels that allows water from their ponds to spread around the landscape. This water slowly irrigates the soil, keeping it wet and plants green – making it much harder for wildfires to take hold. Fairfax’s research has spurred calls to protect beaver habitats to serve as fireproof sanctuaries to curb the spread of future blazes and shelter other species.


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