Let Forest Fires Burn? What the Black-Backed Woodpecker Knows

With long strides, Chad T. Hanson plunged into a burned-out forest, his boots kicking up powdery ash. Blackened, lifeless trees stretched toward an azure sky.

Dr. Hanson, an ecologist, could not have been more delighted. “Any day out here is a happy day for me, because this is where the wildlife is,” he said with a grin.