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Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California Paperback – January 28, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Sunbelt Publications; Revised and Updated edition (January 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932653693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932653697
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Complete with a 32-page full-color field guide to the common plants, birds, and animals that dwell in the chaparral, this book is a "must-have" for natural history buffs, as well as those Southern Californians interested in learning more about their natural surroundings.

From the Author

There are many voices in this book, each with a wealth of experience living within and studying the chaparral of southern California. But the message delivered is a consistent, coherent one that will offer you an honest description of what we know today about the chaparral and its intimate relationship to fire.

As you continue investigating the subject it will become quite clear there are a significant number of opinions relating to fire management that are opposed to one another. It is difficult for the average individual to wade through it all and decide who is right. Try it. But be sure you look at the data and analyze it for yourself. Do not allow a well drawn map or a persuasive argument hijack your objectivity. Analyze the data and ask questions, even if it makes you or those you ask uncomfortable or defensive.

Sometimes it just takes listening to a new perspective and examining data with a more critical eye to help see the truth.

Richard W. Halsey


More About the Author

Richard W. Halsey is the director of the California Chaparral Institute, a research and educational organization focusing on the preservation and ecology of California's shrubland plant communities. He has given more than 300 presentations over the past ten years concerning chaparral ecology, the dynamics of wildfire, and the importance of nature education. Mr. Halsey taught biology for over thirty years in both public and private schools and was honored as his district's Teacher of the Year in 1991. The second edition of his book, "Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California," was published in 2008. Mr. Halsey also works with the San Diego Museum of Natural History, publishes "The Chaparralian," a quarterly journal focusing on nature and the inspiration it can provide.

Customer Reviews

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Finally a book on California wildfires that tells it like it is.
Jim
Good job to Rick Halsey, the book is highly informative and accurate on a subject that is not only controversial but pretty important.
Sara Bellum
Educational and eye-opening on a variety of levels, it even challenged some of the schooling I had learned on the job and in academy.
J. Peng

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jim on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Finally a book on California wildfires that tells it like it is. Great natural history stuff too. Maybe now the public will wake up. Here's a review from the San Diego Union. It's accurate.

A biologist challenges common wisdom in 'Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California'

Reviewed by Terry Rodgers

February 6, 2005

San Diego Union-Tribune

Biologist and fire ecologist Richard W. Halsey sees ample evidence that Southern Californians simply don't get it.

Surrounded by a highly flammable chaparral landscape, we insist on building housing in inappropriate locations that are impossible to defend against wildfires. When the inevitable happens, we expect firefighters to accomplish the impossible by saving every structure, no matter how stupidly constructed. In the fire's aftermath, there's a clamor for more equipment, more choppers, more air tankers.

The public believes chaparral wildfires whipped up by Santa Ana winds can be easily subdued by a bigger, better-equipped army of firefighters. Using tragedy to push a political agenda, some try to blame the fires' destruction on the chaparral itself and those who favor open space conservation.

In "Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California," Halsey directly challenges the common wisdom that has fostered the pattern of tail-chasing after every wildfire disaster.

This is an interesting and important book that could dispel the public's misperceptions and improve public policy to minimize death and destruction from wildfires. Halsey forces the reader to rethink how mankind should live in Southern California's estimated 8.6 million acres of chaparral.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reads like a collection of research papers and essays at times, but it is very informative. Some of the facts in the book are quite astonishing - wind driven fires catch up to birds in flight! There are also several first hand accounts that help tell things like it is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sara Bellum on June 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good job to Rick Halsey, the book is highly informative and accurate on a subject that is not only controversial but pretty important. It is a topic that has a lot of myths and inaccuracies promulgated by unsupported assumptions and sensationalistic media, so the book is timely. I give lectures to HOAs and others regarding wildlife and wildfire, and I found this book useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandra C. Phelps on August 25, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must read for everyone in the southwestern U.S. and northern Baja. Very factual information about fire and fire country. Dispels some myths. Offers lots of practical advice. It is a mystery to me how myths prevail and solid books such as this one sometimes get lost. If you live in fire country, get this book -- and read it!
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