Ecological Scientist Stephen J. Pyne

Spark Chapter Summary

Throughout the years, there have been many professors and experts that involved, curiosity, and concerned about the environment. Some of them were especially more concerned about specific factors of risk than any other factors or concerns. Among the most widely recognized natural elements that seems to be appealing to a lot of researchers and expert in ecology and environmental science is the element of fire. The ecological scientist Stephen J. Pyne is observing the past and old events of fire and its relationship to its environmental surrounding in the past few decades within American states and lands. The combination of information, data, and facts that he gathered, collected, and found he presented in a book that tells the story of fire history in America. Pyne Named his book “Between Two Fires” with a subtitle that reads “A Fire History of Contemporary America”. Unlike what the book title suggests, the book go over many important historical events and times in the American history that lead to dramatic changes and influence great shifts and improvements in the country as a whole.

Pyne started off his book with a chapter that contained a combination of information about fires, lands, and the events that the United States have witnessed in the 20th century. He wrote about the common and widely adapted American culture and the part it played in the fire revolution throughout its states. Pyne indicated that the fire revolution was not limited or preserved in one part of the States than the other. Instead, the knowledge and expertise about fire existed on both the east and west coasts and they often clashed in the middle due to differences in opinions and ideas that were adopted and presented by different people and organizations.

In the east coast of the United States a non-profit organization, Tall Timers, and an academic educational institution, the Florida State University, joint their efforts in research and announced the date in which a unique and one of its kind conference was going to be held to discuss a new understanding and subject area that have never been discussed or considered before. The Tall Timbers organization was specialized and had its focus concentrated on one aspect of fire which is the fire ecology. The organization was set up specially to observe and study the different causes of fires in the natural environment and the ways it is influenced and affected by the environment around it. This study of fire ecology has attracted many people from different organizations, places, and positions to attend the conferences of the Tall Timbers that are held to enlighten people about wildland fires and the different applications and purposes of fires. In this case, the Tall Timbers were work was centered on the implementation of fires as a method that help landowners and government agencies manage the land. Pyne says that the organization has also clarified to the conferences attendants the different rights and power that they have over their lands and that these powers and rights allow them to make decisions about what should be done in their lands as to whether they want to use fire to manage their lands or if they want to stop of prevent the use of such a method on their lands.

Pyne talked about special and known events that took place in the United States. One of the subjects that he talked about was the civil war and the conflict as well as the differences between and North and the South and how they fought over the West. He also wrote about the Baby Boomers generation following the wars. Also, as back to discussing fire history, Pyne wrote extensively about the Forest Service. He indicated that the Forest Service is or was one of the agencies that was greatly concerned with. Fires and interested in the investigation of different fire incidents because these incidents helped them reach some kind of understanding about the fires, how they start and expand on lands. He mainly talked about the knowledge that the Forest Service was trying to obtain from their investigations. He mentions that the Forest Service was aware that the prescribed fire techniques that was used to manage lands have created some serious problems and led to unexpected and uncalculated consequences for the landowners or the agencies that used it. Some of the most terrible problems that were often associated with these prescribed fires is that they sometimes went out of control and spread to larger that the intended areas which therefore resulted wildland fires that damaged, destroyed, and burned down lands and caused great environmental and financial losses. Therefore, by investigating these fires, the Forest Service was hoping to prevent such unfortunate incidents and events from happening again and were also hoping that they can find better ways to do these controlled fires to meet and fulfill their intended purposes. Pyne Also compared the work and efforts of different government and private agencies in relation to researching and investigating fires along with explanation of the reasons that supported the success or the failure of some agencies compared to other organizations and how some organizations chose to split from their original organization to establish an autonomous agency or organization.