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Burning Questions: America's Fight with Nature's Fire

ISBN-13: 978-0275973711
ISBN-10: 0275973719
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[D]ispelling the popular belief that the policy of preventing all fires on public lands was uniformly agreed upon and practiced, Burning Questions resurrects voices and correspondence from participants throughout the twentieth century we have not widely heard before who often engaged in bitter debate. They saw fire not as an enemy to be vanquished, but a necessary part of forest ecology. Their heretical beliefs and scientific studies--along with the equally adamant convictions of forest managers who believed that fire and forest reproduction were incompatible and that prescribed fire was impractical, caused more damage than it prevented, and just plain "wrong"--provide fascinating insight into the shaping of our country's still-evolving wild-land fire management policy."-Environment

"This book is recommended for anyone who wants to understand (at a deeper level than the dramatic but often misleading headline stories and television video footage ) the role of fire in our public lands and how fire policy came to its current state."-Environment

"Drawing into question the standard practices of fire suppression and revising the possibility of prescribed burning, this book recounts 100 years of fire-fighting controversy. It traces the debate from its late nineteenth century origins to the disasters of 2000 and 2001."-SciTech Book News

"This timely book chronicles the controversies of the last 100 years surrounding fire suppression and the debates over prescribed burning. The impacts of the effective public relations campaign of Smokey Bear begun in 1944 and the historic fires of Yellowstone and the Oakland Hills are detailed. An historical account of the prescribed burning in Calaveras Big Trees State Park pioneered in 1970 is particularly interesting."-Save-Redwoods-League

"The heavy use of primary sources makes this work an invaluable window into a controversy which, although kept chiefly within the forest-related sciences, nonetheless had a widespread if little recognized impact on American culture and its approach to the use and management of woodland resources. Valuable for all college and university collection supporting course work in forestry, wildlife biology, botany, agricultural sciences, and population geography."-E-Streams

"A timely contribution focusing on past and present national wildland fire management policies....Carle offers a perceptive and informative discussion of this compelling ecological and natural resource management issue. The book provides an excellent background for understanding the continuing fire suppression versus prescribed burning dialogue and why current wildland fire issues are drawing national attention. Recommended for all readership levels and especially for scientists, resource managers, ecologists, and environmentalists."-Choice

"ÝD¨ispelling the popular belief that the policy of preventing all fires on public lands was uniformly agreed upon and practiced, Burning Questions resurrects voices and correspondence from participants throughout the twentieth century we have not widely heard before who often engaged in bitter debate. They saw fire not as an enemy to be vanquished, but a necessary part of forest ecology. Their heretical beliefs and scientific studies--along with the equally adamant convictions of forest managers who believed that fire and forest reproduction were incompatible and that prescribed fire was impractical, caused more damage than it prevented, and just plain "wrong"--provide fascinating insight into the shaping of our country's still-evolving wild-land fire management policy."-Environment

?This book is recommended for anyone who wants to understand (at a deeper level than the dramatic but often misleading headline stories and television video footage ) the role of fire in our public lands and how fire policy came to its current state.?-Environment

?Drawing into question the standard practices of fire suppression and revising the possibility of prescribed burning, this book recounts 100 years of fire-fighting controversy. It traces the debate from its late nineteenth century origins to the disasters of 2000 and 2001.?-SciTech Book News

?This timely book chronicles the controversies of the last 100 years surrounding fire suppression and the debates over prescribed burning. The impacts of the effective public relations campaign of Smokey Bear begun in 1944 and the historic fires of Yellowstone and the Oakland Hills are detailed. An historical account of the prescribed burning in Calaveras Big Trees State Park pioneered in 1970 is particularly interesting.?-Save-Redwoods-League

?The heavy use of primary sources makes this work an invaluable window into a controversy which, although kept chiefly within the forest-related sciences, nonetheless had a widespread if little recognized impact on American culture and its approach to the use and management of woodland resources. Valuable for all college and university collection supporting course work in forestry, wildlife biology, botany, agricultural sciences, and population geography.?-E-Streams

?A timely contribution focusing on past and present national wildland fire management policies....Carle offers a perceptive and informative discussion of this compelling ecological and natural resource management issue. The book provides an excellent background for understanding the continuing fire suppression versus prescribed burning dialogue and why current wildland fire issues are drawing national attention. Recommended for all readership levels and especially for scientists, resource managers, ecologists, and environmentalists.?-Choice

?[D]ispelling the popular belief that the policy of preventing all fires on public lands was uniformly agreed upon and practiced, Burning Questions resurrects voices and correspondence from participants throughout the twentieth century we have not widely heard before who often engaged in bitter debate. They saw fire not as an enemy to be vanquished, but a necessary part of forest ecology. Their heretical beliefs and scientific studies--along with the equally adamant convictions of forest managers who believed that fire and forest reproduction were incompatible and that prescribed fire was impractical, caused more damage than it prevented, and just plain "wrong"--provide fascinating insight into the shaping of our country's still-evolving wild-land fire management policy.?-Environment

"An important and timely work of wildland fire history. The voices in this book warn us about past mistakes that we must not repeat."-Bruce Babbitt Former Secretary of the Interior

"The nation is in its early stages of what could be called a 'paradigm shift' related to how both wildfire and controlled burning are addressed in natural resources management. This shift has been a long time coming and David Carle documents those changes through the stories of the pioneers in fire ecology and controlled burning and their disciples--and in a most entertaining fashion."-Jack Ward Thomas Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service Boone and Crocket Professor of Wildlife Conservation University of Montana

"Carle joins Ashley Schiff and Stephen Pyne as the preeminent fire historians of America. At a time when we are suffering the consequences of a century of fire suppression, Carle brings forth for the first time the story of the Western fire ecology pioneers, who began fighting for a more rationale fire policy in our Western fire environments. The careers of Harold Weaver and Harold Biswell, spun within the suffocating context of 20th century fire suppression, will be inspiring for new generations of fire managers and scientists."-James Agee Professor of Forest Ecology University of Washington

"Carle has done a great job of covering the story of the evolution of fire suppression to RX fire management over the past century. A lively narrative style picks up individual historical comments and conveys attitudes that portray the essential roles the Harolds and Komareks played in setting forth fires various functions in Southern and Western ecosystems. The patience and persistence of Biswell and Weaver and their students and colleagues in Park Service and Forest Service are finally given fair recognition! And the stories of the 1910 fires, the 1988 Yellowstone fires, Oakland 1991, and the Cerro Grande fire of 2000 are all included!"-Bruce M. Kilgore Retired from the National Park Service Formerly Associate Regional Director Science and Resources Management Western Region, NPS

About the Author

DAVID CARLE was a state park ranger in California for 27 years. Before retiring in 2000, he was at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, where he participated in the prescribed burn program at Mono Lake. He also taught biology at Cerro Coso Community College. Now a freelance writer, he is the author of Drowning the Dream: California's Water Choices at the Millennium (Praeger, 2000) and Mono Lake Viewpoint (1992).

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