Featured works

History and pyrogeography
A multi-work survey by grand narrative and regional reconnaissances.
Popular survey of fire
Illustrated digest of why fire looks the way it does today and how to think about it.
Updated textbook
Continuing evolution of textbooks on wildland and landscape fire.
Writing manual
Art and craft of writing nonfiction books, especially history.
Centennial fire
Historical survey of the Great Fires, their context and consequences.
Geographic exploration
A group of books organized around the concept of three great ages of discovery
Fire on Earth
Includes fire histories for Earth, America, Canada, Australia, and Europe including Russia. Other books on fire management.
Grand Canyon Suite
The Grand Canyon provides a setting, at least in part, for several books.

Quick Links

Books, grouped by themes

The contemporary American fire scene

Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America A grand narrative of ideas, institutions, and fires.

To the Last Smoke A suite of regional reconnaissances.
Vol. 1 Florida: A Fire Survey
Vol. 2 California: A Fire Survey"
Vol. 3 The Northern Rockies: A Fire Survey
Vol. 4 The Southwest: A Fire Survey
Vol. 5 The Great Plains: A Fire Survey - in 2017

More projected, as money and time allow.

Fire: Nature and Culture
A lavishly illustrated survey of fire on Earth and its relationship to its keystone species, humanity. This short, accessible book is organized into four parts - Fire Wild, Fire Tamed, Fire Cultured, and Fire Today. All in all, a useful introduction to the antiquity, pervasiveness, and indispensability of fire.

An updated text on landscape fire management
The latest:
Fire on Earth: An Introduction (2014)
A multi-authored survey. More than a compendium of information, Fire on Earth proposes a reconceptualization of how to think about fire as a phenomenon deeply embedded in the planet's history, life on Earth, and human culture - and all in color.

Previous versions:
Introduction to Wildland Fire, 2nd ed. (1996). Co-authored with Patricia L. Andrews and Richard L. Laven. Out of print. PDF available on request.

Introduction to Wildland Fire (1984). The original and still my favorite because of its consistent voice and vision, but out of print.

The Last Lost World: Ice Ages, Human Origins, and the Invention of the Pleistocene
An interpretive history ~
There are two Pleistocenes. One is the geologic epoch closest to our own. It's a time of continental glaciation, megafauna, extinctions, and the emergence of the hominins. The other Pleistocene is in our minds. Its a world of ideas, data, narratives, an evolution of understanding that also displays adaptations, extinctions, and creation stories. The Last Lost World describes both Pleistocenes.

A friend described it as "the Pleistocene for English majors." We would add for history and philosophy majors too, as well as for anyone interested in the dialectic between the material world revealed by science and the mental one that endows it with meaning.

Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery
The Voyager spacecraft, launched in 1977, conducted a Grand Tour of the outer planets before entering their interstellar mission, where they are now, still functioning. The books describes their origin, launch, and long traverse through the solar system, all within the larger context of the West's great ages of discovery, of which Voyager might stand as the grand gesture of the Third.

Voice and Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Nonfiction
History is scholarship. It is also art, and it is literature. Voice and Vision is a guide to advance the art and craft of writing serious nonfiction to move beyond formulas, to make expression more effective and conscious, to sharpen writing without falsifying sources.

Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910
The Great Fires, climaxing in August 1910, were the founding event that defined wildland fire in America for the next century. All the pieces came together for the first time: big fires, burned towns, dead firefighters (78), a military call-out, emergency salvage, and a folk hero, Ed Pulaski.

Great Ages of Discovery
The history of geographic exploration by Western civilization over the past 600 years falls roughly into three broad ages. Those of my books that rely on this organizing conceit include:
- Grove Karl Gilbert: A Great Engine of Research(1980; pb,2007)
- How the Canyon Became Grand: A Brief History (1998)
- The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica (1986)
- Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery (2010) - see special entry on this website.

Cycle of Fire - and more
Cycle of Fire is a suite of books that surveys the history of fire on Earth:
- Fire: A Brief History (2001)
- World Fire: The Culture of Fire on Earth (1995)
- Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire (1982)
- Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia (1991)
- Awful Splendour: A Fire History of Canada (2007)
- Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told Through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World (1997)
- The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica (1986)

Other books on fire management that complement or serve as sequels:
- Smokechasing (2003); sequel to World Fire
- Introduction to Wildland Fire, two editions (1984, 1996)
- The Still-Burning Bush (2006); sequel to Burning Bush
- Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910 (2001)
- Tending Fire: Coping with America's Wildland Fires (2004)
- America's Fires: A Historical Context for Policy and Practice (2009); for Forest History Society's issues series
- Fire on Earth: An Introduction (2013)

Books that center on the Grand Canyon
My Grand Canyon books include:
- Grove Karl Gilbert: A Great Engine of Research (1980; pb 2007)
- Fire on the Rim: A Firefighter's Long Season at Grand Canyon (1989)
- How the Canyon Became Grand: A Brief History (1998)

The American fire scene, history and geography

A fire history of the U.S. since 1960. The play-by-play companion to the color commentary offered by the suite of volumes in To the Last Smoke .

Florida and California fire surveys (spring 2016)

Northern Rockies and Southwest fire surveys (fall 2016)

Coming attractions for To the Last Smoke
The Great Plains (2017), with more volumes to follow.

A concise, heavily illustrated survey for Reaktion Books' Earth Series.