SHOSHONE, Idaho -- As he squinted into a sea of native grasses, Joe Russell pointed to a cluster of tightly packed sagebrush.
Russell stood on the east side of a dirt road that winds up from the Kimama Fire Station, east of Shoshone. He quickly swept his arm to the other side of the road, pointing out the contrast between the plants on both sides.
"Can you see the difference?" he asked. "Do you see how the sagebrush is dispersed on this side?"
On the road's western side, the sagebrush was scarce for the first few hundred feet out from the road. Green grasses filled the gap. The arrangement is a designed effort to deter the spread of wildfires, and one that's quickly gaining attention from state and wildlife officials.
As a fire ecologist for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Russell usually spends his time trying to repair the damage made by a wildfire on public lands. However, his job also includes finding ways to suppress wildfires.