'The study of forest fires as modifiers of the composition and mode of life of the forest is as yet in its earliest stages. Remarkably little attention, in view of the importance of the subject, has hitherto been accorded to it. A few observers who have lived much with the forest, such as John Muir of California, have grouped fire with temperature and moisture as one of the great factors which govern the distribution and character of forest growth; but so little has been said or written upon the subject that the opinion of each man seems to have been reached independently and upon the single basis of personal observation. The documents upon the subjects still reside, with very few exceptions, in the forest itself. It is unfortunate that our acquaintance with what might almost be called the creative action of forest fires should be so meager, for only through a knowledge of this relation and through the insight which such knowledge brings can there be gained a clear and full conception of how and why fires do harm, and how they best may be prevented or extinguished.'