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Commentaries and select essays

Conflagrating Canada.

A brief reflection on Canada's relationship to wildland fire.

The Big Blowback (1.45 MB)

What eventually followed the Big Blowup.

Comments on the 2021 fire season ~

* Watching megafires from my study

For commentaries on the 2020 West Coast fires ~

 * LA Times: The other contagion.

* SF Chronicle: California and the Big Blowup

* Writers on the Range (with Jack Cohen): HIZ, HERZ, History

* History News Network: The Case for FireStop II

* The Hill: Driving fire

* Der Spiegel: Interview Q&A

* Science editorial: Fire in Our Future

* Yale Environment 360: Paradoxes of the Pyrocene

* LA Times: Fire's Dust Bowl Moment

* Wall Street Journal: Year of the fires

Guardian (January 2020): Burning Bush, Burning Earth

The Conversation (Nov 2019): Planetary fire age

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.