Given that Oregon was pretty much on fire for the summer of 2017, I thought this book a timely read. Although not a stranger to either forest or fire ecology, I found this to be a very thorough and well-written book on the subject. With photos and great clarity, Ferguson details the history of fire in the West and how we got to where we are today, with catastrophic fire after catastrophic fire. From the advent of the Forest Service and Smoky the Bear, where no fire was allowed to burn, to overburdened and under burned forests, climate change, the encroachment of homes in the forest/urban interface, how fires are fought, and what the future of fires and firefighting holds in store. There is no easy fix, and with climate change influencing everything from insects to water take up by trees, the fact that the very COST of fighting fires has precluded doing much in the way of preventative measures such as thinning or prescribed burns, every aspect of fires in the West is covered. I think everyone who lives with the dread of thunderstorms in the tinder dry summers and worries about their home and fire with each passing storm, this is a must read. Really well done.
–Sue, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR
Our thoughts are with Californians facing wildfires.