Fire and History, Worlds and Words

Ecology, History, Management

Fire and humanity

We are uniquely fire creatures on a uniquely fire planet. Contrasting the usual approach to fire as solely a physical phenomenon, our research concentrates on fire as biologically and culturally constructed as well.  We consider all aspects of fire, including issues of industrial combustion and climate change, although attention to pyrotechnologies and urban fire is minor.  The grand saga of fire and humanity was the subject of a TED Talk in March, 2015.

Stephen retired into emeritus status at the end of 2018, though many projects continue.  For more information, see Steve's personal website:

For more information, contact Stephen Pyne:


Fire in the Contemporary U.S.

A multi-year survey of the American fire scene has concluded with 11 books.

Between Two Fires. A Fire History of Contemporary America relates the national narrative from 1960 to 2013. Consider it the play by play. 

To the Last Smoke supplies the color commentary through 9 books of regional surveys, with a 10th volume that abstracts selected essays from the suite.

Project Website

Five Suns:  Fire History of Mexico

A project with long gestation, and then interrupted by Covid, but a survey history that should be completed by the end of 2022.  A collateral project, Vidas en Fuego, a collection of autobiographies by six major figures in Mexico's modern era of fire management, for which I was facilitator, will be published in Mexico in summer 2022.

Global Fire

The Pyrocene:  How We Created an Age of Fire, and What Happens Next has been published.  A related project that situates the Pyrocene with an American example has been published in essay form and will be followed by a short book, Pyrocene Park.  A Journey through the Fire History of Yosemite.  

Fire:  A Brief History has been rewritten into a second edition.  Translations into Italian, French, and Spanish editions are underway.

Nonfiction Writing

I offer short tutorials on writing for members of the International Association for Wildland Fire and the Association for Fire Ecology.  

Exploration, Science, Discovery

A conceptual recasting of exploration by Europe, building out of courses taught at ASU, has been been published as The Great Ages of Discovery:  How Western Civilization Learned about a Wider World.