Burning Questions: America's Fight with Nature's Fire

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 94%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $58.77   
  • Used (8) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.


Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


A burning mix of diesel fuel and gasoline drips from handheld canisters onto the ground. Slowly a line of fire begins to creep downhill. The flames are well behaved, almost hesitant. This is a backing fire, unlikely to attract media attention unless it escapes, like the disastrous Los Alamos Cerro Grande fire did in 2000. This book explores a century of controversy over prescribed burning—using fire as a tool—and fire suppression. For more than 100 years, America waged an all-out war against wildland fire. Decades of fire suppression caused fuels to build up at alarming levels in our forests, culminating in the increasingly severe, uncontrollable fires of the late 20th century—the fires in Yellowstone, the Oakland Hills, and Los Alamos and the fires in summers of 2000 (the second worst fire season in the nation's history) and 2001.

Looking at these and earlier fires, Carle uses the voices of those who were involved, of those who were early advocates, and of today's proponents to examine the role of controlled burning. Early in the century, Harold Biswell, a pioneer in prescribed burning, dared to commit the heresy of questioning the dogma of fire suppression, despite professional controversy and opprobrium, he and a few other pioneers led the way. Their roles play an integral part in the story told here. In Biswell's words, fire is a natural part of the environment, about as important as rain and sunshine… . We must work more in harmony with nature, not so much against it. Can humanity, this book asks, learn to become a fire-adapted species?

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
Drawing into question the standard practices of fire suppression and revising the possibility of prescribed burning, this book recounts 100 years of fire-fighting controversy. It traces the debate from its late nineteenth century origins to the disasters of 2000 and 2001. Black and white photographs and cartoons illustrate the controversy. Carle has worked as a state park ranger and has taught biology at Cero Coso Community College. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275973711
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Pages: 310
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID CARLE was a state park ranger in California for 27 years. Before retiring in 2000, he was at the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve, where he participated in the prescribed burn program at Mono Lake. He also taught biology at Cerro Coso Community College. Now a freelance writer, he is the author of Drowning the Dream: California's Water Choices at the Millennium (Praeger, 2000) and Mono Lake Viewpoint (1992).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: America's Hundred Years War on Wildfire 1
Pt. I Questioning the Dogma of War 9
1 "Professional" Versus "Indian Forestry" 11
2 Burning the Southern Woods 37
3 Harolds of Change 57
4 Only You 81
5 Harry the Torch 97
Pt. II Who Were the Anti-War Activists of the 1960s and 1970s? 115
6 Tall Timbers 117
7 Dog-Hair Thickets in the National Parks 133
8 Burning California State Parks 155
9 National Fire Management 175
Pt. III To Burn or Not to Burn Is Not the Question 189
10 Yellowstone, 1988 191
11 On the Edge 209
12 Escape! 225
13 Peaceful Coexistence 247
Selected Bibliography 263
Index 281
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)