"Fire’s American Century," with guest Stephen Pyne.
Wednesday, 2/13/19, 12pm EST (11am CST, 10am MST, 9am PST)
"The late 19th century was a time of monstrous fires associated with settlement. The U.S. adopted a program of state-sponsored conservation in response, much as Europe’s colonial powers did. The Great Fires of 1910 mark the advent of modern fire protection. The next 50 years saw the creation of a national infrastructure for fire control with the U.S. Forest Service as an institutional matrix and a policy of suppression as a standard. In the 1960s a protest movement objected, and by 1978 a veritable revolution had occurred that redefined the goal as a policy of fire by prescription, which intended to restore good fires. Equally, it removed the Forest Service as a hegemon in favor of interagency institutions. That project stalled under the Reagan and Bush the Elder administrations, then revived after the 1994 season. By then the window for reform had narrowed. Now, after 50 years of attempted restoration, the federal agencies are moving toward a hybrid practice of managed wildfire. Today, each era continues to promote updated versions of its goals. Suppression is moving toward an all-hazard, urban fire-service model. Restoration has expanded from simple prescribed fire to interactive techniques involving fire and fuel management, all embedded in complex collaborations. The managed wildfire is still a work in progress, but it seems implicitly to reject the idea that we can get ahead of the problem or that fire is something largely under our control in favor of administrative mashups. Interesting times."
You can read Steve Pyne's bio below:
"Steve Pyne is a former North Rim Longshot, now an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He has written fire histories for the U.S., Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth. Most recently he has revisited the American fire scene with a general narrative from 1960-2013, Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America, and a suite of nine regional fire surveys under the general title, To the Last Smoke."