MAN and FIRE (Overview)
"The Long Burn" (Pyne, 1999)
A highly readable intro to the history of fire-and-man; by Dr. Stephen Pyne, author of this TeacherServe® essay; originally published in Whole Earth, Winter 1999.
"The Human Flame" (Pyne, 2001)
A more extensive overview by Dr. Pyne of the history of fire-and-man.
The History of Fire
Brief timeline of fire from 300 million years ago to 1997 (using recent events in Illinois as examples of fire events); from Chicago Wilderness Magazine, Fall 1998.
"The Fire of Creation: The Place of Fire in Nature and Human Culture"
Series episode highlighting Stephen Pyne and the Ponderosa National Forest, from the TV and webcast series Sacred Balance (CBC/October 2002):
U.S. WILDFIRE POLICY
"Fire Wars" (Fire in the American West), NOVA/PBS, 2002
Website accompanying the NOVA documentary on U.S. wildfire policy since the late 1800s (using the 2000 wildfire season in the American West as its focus). Offers interactive teaching modules (including a three-variable Wildfire Simulator and interactive global fire maps), links, transcript, and supplementary articles including "How Plants Use Fire," by Dr. Pyne, a featured expert in the documentary.
"Creating an Ecological Omelette: How We Got Out of an Agrarian Frying Pan into an Exurban Fire" (Pyne, 2001)
$FILE/Pyne_revised_abstract.pdf (PDF file)
PDF. Brief paper by Dr. Stephen Pyne reviewing the volatile mix of urban clusters and wildland reserves in fireprone areas of industrial nations, and outlining the discord between proposed U.S. wildland fire policies and global accords. Prepared for the Natural Disasters Roundtable #1: Urban/Wildland Fire, National Academies of Science, January 2001.
Wildfire Protection Efforts (Pyne, 2001)
Radio interview with Dr. Stephen Pyne on "Morning Edition," National Public Radio, August 6, 2001 (4 min.), aired after the town of Roswell, New Mexico, created a firebreak to protect it from wildfires.
"Green Skies of Montana" (Pyne, 2000)
http://www.lib.duke.edu/forest/Publications/greensky.pdf (PDF file)
PDF. Article by Dr. Stephen Pyne, especially valuable for his discussion of the moral issues in firefighting, and of the troubled metaphor of firefight-as-battlefield. Adapted from his remarks at showings of the film Up in Flame (Forest History Society) and the 1952 Hollywood film Red Skies of Montana (loosely based on the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire); originally published in Forest History Today, Spring 2000.
"Attention! All Keepers of the Flame" (Pyne, 1999)
Brief article by Dr. Stephen Pyne challenging the media image of fire as hostile, and reminding us of mankind's responsibilities as "keepers of the planetary flame"; originally published in Whole Earth, Winter 1999.
"Smokechasing" (Pyne, 1999)
Essay by Dr. Stephen Pyne on the unrealized contribution of the humanities to wildfire research and conceptualization; adapted from remarks presented on the 20th anniversary of the National Humanities Center; originally published in the Center's journal Ideas.
"The Political Ecology of Fire: Thoughts Prompted by the Mexican Fires of 1998" (Pyne, 1998)
Guest editorial by Dr. Stephen Pyne offering advice to Mexican policymakers on the political aftermath of giant fires, citing the U.S. policy of fire suppression after the 1910 Great Fires and the lack of an equivalent narrative for promoting a policy of controlled burning; originally published in International Forest Fire News, September 1998.
"Metaphoric Meltdown; or, Not Back in the Saddle Again" (Pyne, 1997)
Brief article by Dr. Stephen Pyne challenging the "firefight-as-battlefield" metaphor and its effect on national fire policy; originally published in Wildfire, November 1997.
"Flame and Fortune" (Pyne, 1994)
Article by Dr. Stephen Pyne reviewing U.S. firefighting policy since the late 1800s; published shortly after the South Canyon Fire (Storm King Mountain); originally published in The New Republic, August 8, 1994.
U.S. WILDFIRE HISTORY (including specific wildfires noted in this essay)
Historical Wildland Fire Statistics
Statistics on 33 U.S. wildfires from 1825 to 2000, from the National Interagency Fire Center.
John Wesley Powell, Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States, 1878
Primary source recommended by Dr. Pyne; includes map of Utah in which extensive burned areas are attributed to burning by Indians.
Report on the Forests of North America (Exclusive of Mexico), by Charles S. Sargent, Tenth Census, 1884, excerpt on forest fires.
Excerpt from Sargent's influential report in which he categorizes the causes and impact of forest fires in the U.S.
U.S. Forest Service History
Documents, photographs, and a collections database, from the Forest History Society, Duke University.
The Peshtigo Fire of 1871 [Wisconsin]
Rev. Peter Pernin, The Great Peshtigo Fire: An Eyewitness Account, 1874
The Big Blowup of 1910 [Idaho]
Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910, by Stephen J. Pyne, Viking, 2001, excerpt.
The Mann Gulch Fire of 1949 [Montana]
Mann Gulch Fire: A Race That Couldn't Be Won
Yellowstone Fires of 1988
Yellowstone in the Afterglow: Lessons from the Fires
South Canyon Fire, Storm King Mountain, Colorado, 1994
Interagency Accident Investigation Team Report, 1994
Outlet Fire, Grand Canyon National Park, 2000
Outlet Fire, May 2000
Cerro Grande Fire, Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, 2000
Cerro Grande Fire
FireCall: A Wildland Firefighter Speaks Out
Four-minute video of a 52-year-old wildland firefighter musing on the rewards and hazards of his work; from National Geographic.
Wildfire Season Summaries
For the years 1998 to the last complete wildfire season, in addition to other statistics on wildland and prescribed fire; from the National Interagency Fire Center.
Current Wildfire Season, from WildfireCentral.org
In addition to government agencies that provide current fire news (below), this site from the Wilderness Society provides daily updates as well as Wilderness Society publications, testimony, and links. The visitor may submit questions to five wildfire specialists through the link titled "The Experts."
"Wildfire Ecology in the Western United States"
Non-technical article from the U.S. Geological Survey reviewing the interrelationship of fire and western landscapes: forest, shrublands, and desert; originally published in Cyberwest Magazine, Sept. 17, 1999.
Glossary of Wildland Fire Terms
240 terms with brief definitions, from the National Interagency Fire Center.
Educational quizzes on wildfire (including fire ecology) and recent fire news; from the Environmental News Network.
"How Plants Use Fire (and Are Used by It)" (Pyne, 2002)
Article by Dr. Stephen Pyne on the varied modes of plant and ecosystem adaptation to fire; on the site "Fire Wars," NOVA/PBS, 2002.
Fire and the Land Use History of the Colorado Plateau
Fire-related sections in the vast project "Canyons, Cultures, and Environmental Change: An Introduction to Land Use History of the Colorado Plateau," from Northern Arizona University and the U.S. Geological Survey. Fire-related sections include:
Valuable primer from NASA summarizing its research on biomass burning and wildfires.
Global Fire Monitoring
Another primer from NASA on global fire, including NASA projects, case studies, and data sets from which one can build animations of wildfires.
"The World on Fire"
Overview of global fire issues summarized for the layman; on NOVA/PBS site "Fire Wars."
"The Global Impact of Biomass Burning"
Technical yet accessible articleto quote: "The contribution of boreal forest fires . . . to global emissions from biomass burning is not as well understood as are emissions from tropical forests"; in Environmental Science and Technology (NASA), March 1995.
Wildfires in Australia, 2003
Essay by Prof. Pyne on Australian wildfire policy, comparing it to that in the U.S. Written as an op-ed piece in the daily newspaper The Australian after the disastrous Canberra fires ("Range of remedies in fire's lucky country," 20 January 2003).
FROSTFIRE: Landscape-scale Fire Experiment
Extensive site on the FROSTFIRE project, a prescribed research burn and global change experiment in the Alaskan forest in July 1999, designed "to build a full picture of the carbon, water, and energy pools and fluxes in the boreal forest before, during, and after the fire"; includes research reports, a photo gallery, and updated news; from the U.S. Forest Service.
WILDFIRE AGENCIES: U.S. , Canada, International (imaging sites listed separately, below)
National Interagency Fire Agency (NIFC)
First place to go for current wildfire information in the U.S. (needs a site map to reveal its hidden resources.)
National Fire Plan: Managing the Impact of Wildfires on the Communities and the Environment
Organized after the 2000 wildfire season to coordinate federal and state management of wildland fire and its impacts; a joint effort of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.
FIREWISE: The National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Program
Information for people who live or vacation in fire-prone areas of North America; sponsored by six government agencies and two independent organizations.
NPS Fire and Aviation Management (National Park Service)
Includes a "Fire Info Zone," firefighting success stories, and sections on wildland fire, structural fire, and fire aviation.
Office of Fire & Aviation (U.S. Bureau of Land Management)
Includes current wildfire news, photo gallery, FAQs page, fact sheets, links, and more.
Fire and Aviation Management (U.S. Forest Service)
Includes current wildfire news, weather and situation reports, fire prevention and education resources, links, and more.
Fire Management (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Includes a daily situation report, wildland and prescribed fire statistics (from 1995), weather and safety information, a links list entitled "Wildfire, the Endangered Species Act, and Human Safety."
Wildland Fire Research (U.S. Geological Survey)
Brief summaries of USGS wildland fire research, including fire management support, postfire effects, and fire in the landscape (history, ecology, and regional behavior).
Fire Weather Information Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency [NOAA])
Compilation of current fire weather (and drought situation) reports from NOAA and other government agencies.
Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC)
Current fire information for Canada in addition to research and publication information, plus links to other fire agencies.
Fire Research Network: Canadian Forest Service
Research abstracts, publications, links, and more.
Fire Globe: Global Fire Monitoring Center
Division of the U. N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
Forest Fires: United Nations System-Wide Earthwatch
Brief summary of global forest fires and their environmental effects (not updated since 1999).
WILDFIRE IMAGING (photographs, satellite and space shuttle images, video, fire maps, interactive maps, JAVA animations, etc.)
Video Clips, 2000 wildfire season
Six segments, available in large format (most of the Cerro Grande Fire), useful for illustrating basic concepts of fire behavior and human-fire interaction; from the Intermountain Forest Association.
Interactive Fire Maps (National Fire Plan)
Scroll down to the 50-state map to create multi-level, multi-factor fire maps for each state.
Interactive Fire Maps (U. S. Geological Survey)
Click "Wildland Fire Maps" to access multi-level, multi-factor fire maps for current U.S. fires (expect heavy traffic during wildfire season).
Global Fire Animations (NASA)
Select a time period to view an animation of world wildfires in that period (you can also compare two time periods or compare fire events with other variables).
Wildfire Visualization Project (NASA)
Wildfire simulations, movies, images, and more from the Advanced Computing Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Wildfires: Satellite Image JAVA Animations (NASA, NOAA, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison).
From this page, scroll to the 25+ animations of recent wildfires in the Western Hemisphere; from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies.
Remote Sensing Application Center (NASA/U.S. Forest Service)
Maps of active fires, satellite images, current detection imaging, and more (under construction as of June 2002).
Satellite Images of Wildfires (U.S. Forest Service)
Highly detailed satellite images of U.S. wildfires, organized by month and day from the recent wildfire seasons.
Satellite Imagery: World Fire Events (NOAA Operational Significant Event Imagery)
Images (and some animations) arranged by country and region.
Photos of Fire from Space (NASA Earth Observatory)
Latest fire events as photographed from space.
Photos/Animations: Views of Wildfires from Space (NASA Earth Observatory)
Summary of NASA's imaging capabilities and research, using images from August 2001.
Photos of Earth from Space, including wildfires (NASA: Johnson Space Center Digital Image Collection)
Choose "Fire" in the Available Views menu for satellite images of global wildfires (recommend clicking "Thumbnail and Text" instead of "Graphically Intense").
Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth (NASA)
Search page for access to all NASA images of earth from space since 1961. One can use the simple map-click method, but it is worth learning the multi-variable technical search process.
Wildfire Photos (National Interagency Fire Center Image Portal)
An extensive collection of wildfire photos organized by topic and fire (images delivered as .zip files).
Photos, including wildfires (Bureau of Land Management Digital Photo Library)
Enter "wildfire" and a state or region in the search menu.
Photos: Forest Firefighters, 1918-1956 (National Agricultural Library)
Photographs not readily available elsewhere.
Wildfire Photos (Wildlandfire.com)
Photo sections include wildfires, firefighting crews and equipment, fire aviation, and more.
Photos: Prescribed Burning: before and after
360° panorama of a controlled burn, Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary, Titusville, Florida, 1999
From this page, go to the QuickTime link.
Return to "The Use of the Land" Links to Online Resources
Return to the essay, History with Fire in Its Eye
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Revised: February 2006