Fire wolves and Smokey Bears: a history of fire prevention
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): S. J. Pyne
Editor(s): S. J. Pyne
Publication Year: 1982

Cataloging Information

  • Adirondack Mountains
  • AFA - American Forestry Association
  • Africa
  • agriculture
  • backfires
  • Belgian Congo
  • broadcast burning
  • Canada
  • Cascades Range
  • CCC - Civilian Conservation Corporation
  • CFFP - Cooperate Forest Fire Prevention Program
  • coniferous forests
  • conservation
  • DESCON (Designated Control Burn System)
  • distribution
  • education
  • erosion
  • Europe
  • fire case histories
  • fire codes
  • fire equipment
  • fire management
  • fire protection
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • firefighting personnel
  • Florida
  • France
  • fuel management
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • hunting
  • Idaho
  • ignition
  • Illinois
  • incendiary fires
  • insects
  • Kentucky
  • lightning caused fires
  • livestock
  • logging
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mediterranean habitats
  • Michigan
  • military lands
  • Mississippi
  • National Fire Prevention Day
  • national forests
  • Native Americans
  • Nebraska
  • New England
  • New Mexico
  • NWCG - National Wildfire Coordinating Group
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Ozarks
  • Pennsylvania
  • pine forests
  • pine hardwood forests
  • presettlement fires
  • private lands
  • propaganda
  • public information
  • rangeland fires
  • recreation related fires
  • resins
  • Russia
  • Scandinavia
  • SCFFP - Southern Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program
  • slash
  • Smokey Bear program
  • soils
  • Tillamook Fire
  • Turkey
  • US Forest Service
  • water
  • WFCA - Western Forestry and Conservation Association
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildfires
  • wood
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: July 26, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 43148
Tall Timbers Record Number: 18327
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Not in File
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


From the text... 'The outcome of the Southern Forestry Education Campaign was much less devisive. To begin with, its subject was not the internal distribution of agency funds but the promotion of fire protection as a concept. Nor was it concerned with the question of transient visitors; it addressed instead the stubborn question of southern woodsburning. The idea was initially proposed by Ovid Butler, executive secretary of the American Forestry Association in 1925. Since at least 1923 the association had experimented with various mediums for communicating a fire prevention message in addition to its periodical, American Forests, and in 1928 Butler*s idea was approved. Outfitted with the techniques of the Showboats and the peripatetic Wheeler, the 'Dixie Crusaders' hit the road. Their strategy was to concentrate on the states of Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi; to promote their message effectively without relying primarily on printed material; and to demonstrate to the unregenerate southerner that his future belonged with forests rather than with a traditional subsistence economy of agriculture, herding, and hunting. The program ran for three years on a budget of $150,000, some of which was contributed by the states involved.... McCormick estimated that the campaign reached some 3 million people, traveled over 300,000 miles, and disseminated some 2 million pieces of literature. He assured the readers of American Forests that 'the evidence is clear in word and action however, that the woodsburning habit inherent with southern ruralists has been staggered by the assault of the Dixie Crusaders....' Other commentators confirmed that 'a great indignation was sweeping out over the Piney Woods, mobilizing sentiment against the woodsburner.' Pledges notwithstanding, there was no doubt a good deal of backsliding. The issue was clouded further, for just as the Crusaders were adding up their new converts, the scientific evidence in favor of regulated controlled burning began to mount.... Fire prevention entered into a program of reeducation as great as that which brought systematic fire protection in the first place. Like the new fire policies, with their pluralism of responses, fire prevention programs had to address local or regional problems rather than attempt a single national message. they had to cope with the relativity of wildfire, allowing for 'professional' exploitation without giving license to a potentially careless public. They had to account for the inevitability of natural fire in natural systems and the desirability of prescribed fire in managed systems without increasing the likelihood of wildfire in either. What prevention had to address, in short, was the nature of the ultimate source of anthropogenic ignition, the inevitable friction between human beings and their natural environment.' © 1982 by Princeton University Press.

Pyne, S. J. 1982. Fire wolves and Smokey Bears: a history of fire prevention, in SJ Pyne ed., Fire in America: a cultural history of wildland and rural fire. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, p. 161-180.