Introduction

The past 50 years have witnessed remarkable changes in American fire policy, institutions, sciences, and practices. Yet the standard history, Fire in America, ends in the 1970s. It misses the momentous events that make America’s great cultural revolution on fire. But more is at stake than missing years. The revolution changed the storyline. It deserves its own narrative.  Now it has one.

Thanks to the generosity of the federal agencies and the University of Arizona Press a multi-book compendium is underway. The project has resulted in two books. Between Two Fires: A Fire History of America, 1960-2012 will relate the basic narrative. To the Last Smoke will assemble a suite of shorter regional surveys to highlight particular places, personalities, and practices. Between Two Fires will thus serve as the play-by-play record, and To the Last Smoke as the color commentary, as organized around regions.

Between Two Fires is now in printTo the Last Smoke is in production, with four volumes out, one in editing, and two others being written.

Funding for the general project has come from the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and Joint Fire Science Program.  It has been overseen by Dr Lincoln Bramwell, chief historian of the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Biology and Society, at Arizona State University.

Steve Pyne

For biographical information, see my author’s page