Fire, both inevitable and ubiquitous, plays a crucial role in North American ecosystems. But as necessary as fire is to maintaining healthy ecosystems, it threatens human lives and livelihoods in unacceptable ways. This volume explores the rich yet largely uncharted terrain at the intersection of fire policy, fire science, and fire management in order to find better ways of addressing this pressing dilemma. Written in clear language, it will help scientists, policy makers, and the general public, especially residents of fire-prone areas, better understand where we are today in regard to coping with wildfires, how we got here, and where we need to go. Drawing on abundant historical and analytic information to shed new light on current controversies, Living with Fire offers a dynamic new paradigm for coping with fire that recognizes its critical environmental role. The book also tells how we can rebuild the important ecological and political processes that are necessary for finding better ways to cope with fire and with other complex policy dilemmas.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Uncertainty and Change
1. Wildland Fire in the West: The Big Picture
2. Fanning the Flames: Human Influences on Fire Regimes
3. The Failed State of Fire Suppression
4. Logging the Forests to Save Them
5. Tools for Living with Fire
6. Policy Solutions
Sara E. Jensen is Private Lands Conservation Associate with Defenders of Wildlife. Guy R. McPherson, Professor of Natural Resources and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, is author of Applied Ecology and Natural Resource Management among other books.
"Living with Fire is a breath of fresh air that does an excellent job highlighting the many misconceptions associated with wildland fire. The clarity with which the authors emphasize two key concepts—the importance of weather in wildfires and why the 'one-size-fits-all' perspective of fuel modification is counterproductive—is enough to make this book required reading for anyone dealing with wildfire."—Richard Halsey, author of Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California
"Jensen and McPherson do an excellent job of explaining common misconceptions about fire, the fundamental basis for failed fire policy, and how incentives for continuing traditional fire prevention approaches underlie many of today's problems. Living with Fire makes the case that a significant overhaul of policy and management approaches will be needed if we are to coexist better with fire."—Dennis C. Odion, Southern Oregon University
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