In his book Forgotten Fires: Native Americans and the Transient Wilderness, anthropologist Omer C. Stewart argues persuasively, using documentation and physical evidence, that for thousands of years, residents of this continent have regularly used fire to burn grasslands and forest understory for a variety of reasons. He quotes the journals of 18th century Spanish explorers in Southern California, who complain frequently of lack of grazing for their animals because the grass had been burned by "the heathen."
Stewart contends that, because human beings in North America have used fire to shape their environment for thousands of years, we must consider man-made fire to be a natural ecological force.
Stewart's book is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the effects of fire on the environment, and for anyone in a position to influence government policy toward fire.
- Kyle Klain on Enough is enough at the Glen Canyon Recreation Area
- Mary Sojourner on Rants from the Hill: Desert Insomnia
- Mary Sojourner on Solace at the end of Homer Spit
- Jennafer Waggoner-Yellowhorse on Why are Hopi rangers impounding sheep at Black Mesa?
- Emma Drew on What’s in the water in Woods Cross?