Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

Introduction to Fire in California

David Carle (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 236 pages
ISBN: 9780520255777
August 2008
$24.95, £18.95
What is fire? How are wildfires ignited? How do California's weather and topography influence fire? How did the California Indians use fire? In the spirit of his highly acclaimed Introduction to Air in California and Introduction to Water in California, David Carle now turns to another fundamental element of the natural world, giving a fascinating and concise view of this complex topic. His clearly written, dramatically illustrated book will help Californians, including the millions who live near naturally flammable wildlands, better understand their own place in the state's landscape. Carle covers the basics of fire ecology; looks at the effects of fire on wildlife, soil, water, and air; discusses firefighting organizations and land management agencies; explains current policies; and explores many other topics.


* 91 color illustrations and 15 maps

* Tips on what to do before, during, and after fires

* An overview of major wildfires in California's history

* A discussion of the effect of climate change on fires in natural landscapes

A book in the Californians and Their Environment subseries, dedicated to understanding human influences on the state's ecology and natural resources

What Is Fire?
The Fire Triangle
Oxygen: Fire Breath, Fuel: Fire Food, Heat: Fire Energy
Ignition Sources
Fire Behavior
Weather, Topography: Lay of the Land

Fire Regimes
Seeds, Sprouts, and All of the Above
Vegetation Types and Fire: Chaparral Shrublands, Conifer Forests, Oak Woodlands and Savannas, Sagebrush, Shrublands and Pinyon-Juniper Forests, Deserts, Grasslands, Wetlands and Riparian Woodlands
Soil, Water, and Air
Climate Change

California’s Light-Burning Debate
The Big Ones

Fighting Back: Tactics and Weaponry
Making Peace: Restoring Fire
The Chaparral Dilemma
Fire Plans
Logging versus Thinning

Wildland-Urban Interface
Becoming a Fire-Adapted Californian
Fire-Safe Planning: Before the Fire: Defensible Space
Fire-Safe Planning: During the Fire: Outdoors, Indoors,
After the Fire
Kindling Change

Online Fire Resources
Art Credits
Additional Captions
David Carle worked as a California State Park ranger for twenty-seven years. He is author of Introduction to Water in California, Introduction to Air in California (both from UC Press), and Burning Questions: America's Fight with Nature's Fire, among other books
“The chapter on "Getting Ready: Life on the Edge" is worth the price of admission. It diagrams creating a defensible space around your home and what to do during a fire evacuation . . . . One way to thank the firefighters and volunteers is to become more informed about fire. This book will help.”—Chico Enterprise-Record
“Like a scary souvenir of 2008 [it] explains how and why. A pyro would slaver over its pictures.”—East Bay Express
“It tells everything readers need to know about wildfires: how they spread and what their effects are.”—Palo Alto Weekly
“A primer on fire issues.”—San Diego Union Tribune
“Well written, yet simple enough for broad appeal.”—Choice: Current Reviews For Academic Libraries
“A handy little book that will help those living in potential brush or forest areas cope with a wildfire.”—Midwest Book Review
“Awe-inspiring.”—Natural Hazards Observer
“This handy little paperback contains a lot of information Central Coast residents, especially those in vulnerable areas, will want to read up on before we get into the summer months. . . . This is a book you want to read now.”—Salinas Californian
“Fascinating . . . This is a book that belongs in every ranger station across California.”—Robert C. Pavlik The Wave
“Carle does an excellent job of telling complex social, biological, and physical stories in a way that makes them not only accessible, but also interesting.”—Neil G. Sugihara, coeditor of Fire in California's Ecosystems

“A welcome contribution to the California Natural History Guides series that integrates the natural and cultural history of fire in California in an engaging style.”—James K. Agee, author of Steward's Fork and Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more