5 thoughts on “Big Burn Premieres on PBS Tonight!”

    • Thanks, Guy!


      Steve Pyne, Author, Year of the Fires: Timber was really a critical industrial product, and we were going to run out, much like an oil crisis in present times. So the solution was to regulate this unsettled land as a public domain that would then be governed by scientific informed bureaus, and this would allow us to conserve it. Not lock it up, but to use it in some kind of rational regulated way.

      Narrator: Their Progressive vision imagined a new kind of commonwealth, National Forests, controlled by an enlightened corps of rangers, overseeing not just the timber, but also the minerals, the water and the wildlife — for the benefit of all Americans.

      Char Miller, Historian: A National Forest is not a pristine sanctuary; it is a utilized landscape. So, it’s a different model than a National Park, You can hunt on it, you can graze on it, you can mine on it. Its purpose is to be managed.

  1. It included a nice reminder that the original purpose of the Forest Service was to protect the forests from capitalism and local control.

  2. I didn’t get to see the show but I read the text. A few things struck me. First how we tend to view history from our current vantage point. Do we really know what these people were thinking? Secondly is this was a mega fire that took place before we had any effect on the landscape. Guess we can,t blame all fires on the policy of trying to keep fires out of the forest. Plus I think it’s time to end the myth that fire is good for the forest. Maybe some places sometimes, but generally fires are very destructive. And after a fire the brush comes back thicker than ever. My observation has been forests survive in spite of fire, not because of them. Also is the type of forest landscape that the early inhabitants created by their use of fire really appropriate for our current times?

    • I do think that concepts of the indigenous practices should work extremely well for our society, as long as the public allows their government to make our forests safer, healthier and more sustainable that the “Whatever Happens” fantasy.


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