Recent Publications iffn25

Recent Publications

(IFFN No. 25 – July 2001)

Globaland regional wildland fire monitoring from space:

Planning acoordinated international effort

Increasingconflagrations of forests and other lands throughout the world during the 1980sand 1990s have made fires in forests and other vegetation emerge as an importantglobal concern. Both the number and severity of wildfires and the application offire for land-use change, seem to have increased dramatically compared toprevious decades of the twentieth century. The adverse consequences of extensivewildfires cross national boundaries and have global impacts. Fire regimes arechanging with climate variability and population dynamics. Satellite remotesensing technology has the potential to play an important role for monitoringfires and their consequences, as well as in operational fire management. Inresponse to this need as well as to respond to other needs for more rapidprogress in forest observation, in 1997 the Committee on Earth ObservationSatellites (CEOS) initiated Global Observation of Forest Cover (GOFC) as aninternational pilot project to test the concepts of an Integrated GlobalObserving Strategy. The GOFC program is currently part of the Global TerrestrialObserving System (GTOS). GOFC was designed to bring together data providers andinformation users to make information products from satellite and in-situobservations of forests more readily available worldwide. Fire Monitoring andMapping was formed as one of three basic components of GOFC.

A new book volume hasbeen prepared that reviews and synthesizes the existing capabilities ofspaceborne sensors to detect and monitor wildland fires, to use remote sensingfor early warning of wildland fires and to provide decision support for firemanagers and policy makers. This book contains eighteen contributions authoredby scientists who represent the most active international research anddevelopment institutions, aiming at coordinating and improving internationalefforts for user- oriented systems and products. These papers were initiallypresented at a GOFC Fire Workshop held at the Joint Research Centre, Ispra. Thevolume is a contribution by the GOFC Forest Fire Monitoring and MappingImplementation Team to the Interagency Task Force, Working Group on WildlandFire of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).

Ahern, F., J.G.Goldammer,and C. Justice (eds.). 2001. Global and regional vegetation fire monitoring fromspace: Planning a coordinated international effort. SPB Academic Publishing bv,The Hague, The Netherlands, 302 p. (ISBN 905103140-8) (Order information: $US70.00. Contact:


Yearof the Fires

The Story of theGreat Fires of 1910

1910 was America’smillenial year of fire. That summer, American nature and American societycollided with tectonic force as western wildfires scorched millions of acres,darkened skies in New England, and deposited soot on the ice of Greenland. Farms,mining camps, and rail towns cracked and burned. A survivor said that thetowering flames raged with the sound of a thousand trains rushing over athousand steel trestles. As one ranger put it, the mountains roared.

Stephen Pyne,recognized by the Chicago Tribune as “the world’s foremost authority onfire and its role in human culture,” tells the whole story of thatcatastrophic year and its indelible legacy Pyne explains how wildland fireshappen and how they are fought, how forests are created then re-created incycles of burning, and what happens to a landscape when roads, railways, miningcamps, logging, and national parks appear. The action distills into a two-daycrisis, the “Big Blowup” of 20-21 August 1910, when the fires tripled insize, and focuses in particular on the heroics of Ranger Ed Pulaski, who heldhis panicked crew at gunpoint in a mine tunnel while the firestorm raged outside.

Pyne brings thatastonishing year to life through the experiences and words of the rangers,soldiers, politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, and civilians who faced thefires, fought the flames, and were forever scarred by them. It was the first andgreatest test of the fiveyear-old Forest Service. Yet even as seventy-eightfirefighters perished, a national debate raged about policy, and especiallyabout the relative merits of firefighting versus fire lighting.

The Great Fires wereunlike any American fire before them, and no wildland fire since hasfundamentally differed from the pattern they inscribed. Everything we do in thiscountry with respect to forest fire – from the actual tools firefighters stillcarry to strategies of land management – is rooted in the way we fought thefires of 1910. Geography, nature, and civilization did battle in 1910 in acrazed, lethal struggle that has become one of the great sagas of Americans andtheir lands. More than a memorable adventure tale, this is the chronicle of aprofound event that continues to shape American life.

Pyne, S., 2001, Year ofthe Fires: the story of the great fires of 1910, Viking Penguin, 322 p.
(ISBN 0-670-89990-9)


MappingWildfires Hazards and Risks

Based on the October1996 workshop at Pingree Park Colorado, MappingWildfires Hazards and Risks is acompilation of the ideas of federal and state agencies, universities, andnon-governmental organizations on how to rank and prioritize forested watershedareas that are in need of prescribed fire. This book explains the vitalimportance of fire for the health and sustainability of a watershed forest andhow the past acceptance of fire suspension has consequently led to the nicreasedfuel loadings in these landscapes that may lead to more severe future wildfires.Complete with geographic maps, charts, diagramms, and a list of locations wherethere is the greatest risk of future wildfires. MappingWildfires Hazards and Risks will assist you in deciding how to setpriorities for land treatment that might reduce the risk of land damage.

Sampson, R. N., Atkinson,R. D. and Lewis, J. W. (eds.), 2000, Mapping Wildfires Hazards and Risks, FoodProducts Press, Bringhampton NY USA, 343 p. (ISBN 1-56022-071-6 –
ISBN 1-56022-073-2)

Mapping Wildfires Hazardsand Risks has been co-publised simultaneously as Journal of Sustainable Forestry,Volume 11, Numbers 1/2 2000


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