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Commentaries and select essays

For commentaries on our Fire Age, see Pyrocene in the menu banner.

Fire primer for journalists (133 KB)

Fundamentals for understanding fire in the U.S. Version 1.4 (Dec 2018)

30 Years After Yellowstone Burned
The mid-1980s marked a phase change.

The two cultures of fire
Urban and wildland fire are as different as hydrants and drip torches.

Fire as a political metaphor.
Interpreting some recent, unexpected uses.

The Southern California fires
The fundamentals don't change. Why should the fires?

Welcome to the Pyrocene.
A meditation on the 2016 Fort McMurray fire as a symbol of the two fires, one burning living landscapes and the other, lithic landscapes, that together define our era.

Fire Age
The Pleistocene's Ice Ages are seguing into the Anthropocene's Fire Age . A thumbnail history of fire on Earth and the role of fire's keystone species.

What do do with Smokey Bear?
Time to let him retire, with honor, and turn over the task to his cubs.