The fires were heavily covered by the news media, and some reports suggested California had suffered apocalyptic devastation and permanent loss. But the more complicated reality of fire’s long-term impact on forests is often poorly reported and misunderstood. In this video, we talk to experts who say many accounts of California’s blazes sensationalize the extent of forest devastation while paying less attention to fire’s crucial role in nature. Hanson believes that in some cases, the state’s forests would be healthier and more resilient if certain fires were allowed to burn. She says that although today’s fires sometimes burn more intensely, they used to burn longer and over much larger areas.