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.
The federal agencies have generously agreed to fund a sequel study that will survey the history from 1960 to 2012. The project will result in two books. Between Two Fires: A Fire History of America, 1960-2012 will relate the basic narrative. To the Last Smoke will assemble an anthology of essays 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.
Shift plan for 2014 ~
Between Two Fires is written and is currently under review by the University of Arizona Press. Earlier this year it appeared that the Forest Service would publish, but the editorial process crashed, and I will submit the manuscript as a PDF to the agency sponsors. A digest of the narrative along with some observations is available at After the history has been made.
To the Last Smoke has passed review by the University of Arizona Press. We are currently discussing how many of the regional volumes to publish and when.
Because of its bulk, I’m seriously considering a much shorter, popular version of Between Two Fires (tentatively titled Friendly Fire, Feral Fire) to be published in a venue yet to be determined. My primary task, however, is to move the project texts into print.
Meanwhile, I have several essays recently out or under review, including one on an Endangered process act, one on fire at San Carlos Apache Reservation [Squaring the triangle], and one, Box and burn: fire management as mashup, headed to Fire Management Today, a meditation on the hybrid fire regime that is coming to define the West . For others, see Here and There.
Funding comes from the U.S. Forest Service, Department of the Interior, and Joint Fire Science Program.