To the Last Smoke: An Anthology

To the Last Smoke: An Anthology

by Stephen J. Pyne


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From boreal Alaska to subtropical Florida, from the chaparral of California to the pitch pine of New Jersey, America boasts nearly a billion burnable acres. In nine previous volumes, Stephen J. Pyne has explored the fascinating variety of flame region by region. In To the Last Smoke: An Anthology, he selects a sampling of the best from each.

To the Last Smoke offers a unique and sweeping view of the nation’s fire scene by distilling observations on Florida, California, the Northern Rockies, the Great Plains, the Southwest, the Interior West, the Northeast, Alaska, the oak woodlands, and the Pacific Northwest into a single, readable volume. The anthology functions as a color-commentary companion to the play-by-play narrative offered in Pyne’s Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America. The series is Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816540129
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 04/21/2020
Series: To the Last Smoke Series
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 643,702
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Stephen J. Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 30 books, mostly on wildland fire, including Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America, also published by the University of Arizona Press.

Table of Contents

Author's Note ix


A Tale of Two Landscapes 5

One Foot in the Black 16

Fire 101 at Star Fleet Academy 27

The Everburns 32


State of Emergency 47

Cajon Pass 60

Imperium in imperio 63

Mending Firewalls 71

The Big Ones 79

This Time Is Different. Maybe 90

Northern Rockies

Fire's Call of the Wild 97

The Embers Will Find a Way 107

How I Came to Mann Gulch 116

What Makes a Fire Significant? 124

The Other Big Burn 131

Great Plains

Seasons of Burning: Prairie Fire in American Culture 143

Pleistocene Meets Pyrocene 153

Konza 161

People of the Prairie, People of the Fire 168

The Blackened Hills 177


The Jemez 189

Thinking Like a Burned Mountain 197

Top-Down Ecology 202

Squaring the Triangle 214

A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Crew in Yamell 229

Interior West

A Worthy Adversary 239

Deep Fire 249

Strip Trip 261

Mesa Negra 271

Fatal Fires, Hidden Histories 278


A Song of Ice and Fire-and ICE 289

Albany Pine Bush 302

The WUI Within 309

The View from Bill Patterson's Study 314

Westward, the Course of Empire 321


Missouri Compromise 335

Fire and Axe: The First and Second Timber Wars 347

An Ecological and Silvicultural Tool: Harold Weaver 359

Kenai 366

North to the Future: Pleistocene to Pyrocene 372

Here and There

Our Coming Fire Age: A Prolegomenon 379

Coming to a Forest Near You 387

"Science Supplies the Solution" 393

Portal to the Pyrocene 397

Notes 401

Credits 425

Index 427

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