Steve Pyne is a "Scholar on Fire"
Fire seems everywhere in the news these days, and for many observers interested in the Earth System, fire - in the form of human-controlled combustion - has tipped the planet into the Anthropocene. Steve Pyne has studied fire since 1967 when he joined a fire crew on the North Rim of Grand Canyon; he's made it a research topic since he published Fire in America, a historical survey, in 1982. Since then he has written over a dozen books on fire in Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth overall. Now he has returned to the U.S. for a fresh survey.
The past 50 years have witnessed remarkable changes in American fire policies, practices, institutions, and understanding; and scientific research has increased exponentially. But the prevailing narrative ends where Fire in America left it, in the 1970s. With funding from the federal fire agencies, Steve has been updating that history, giving the era its own narrative arc. The outcome will be published under two titles, one of which will have eight volumes.
Between Two Fires. A Fire History of America, 1960-2012 chronicles the basic events, ideas, institutions, and personalities. Consider it the era's play-by-play. To the Last Smoke. A Fire Reconnaissance of America, 2011-2015, will explore the variety and particularities of the country's fire scene, organizing over 200 essays by regions, to be published in eight short volumes. Think of it as the color commentary. The University of Arizona Press has accepted To the Last Smoke, which it will publish over the next three years. It still has Between Two Fires out for review.