Fire [Chapter 4]
Document Type: Book Chapter
Author(s): S. I. Krech
Editor(s): S. Krech III
Publication Year: 1999

Cataloging Information

  • Canada
  • Ceanothus
  • chaparral
  • coniferous forests
  • conservation
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • evolution
  • fire dependent species
  • fire exclusion
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • forest management
  • grasslands
  • histories
  • human caused fires
  • hunting
  • ignition
  • land management
  • lightning
  • lightning caused fires
  • mammals
  • mosaic
  • Native Americans
  • Pinus palustris
  • Pinus ponderosa
  • prairies
  • presettlement fires
  • Quercus
  • range management
  • rangelands
  • scrub
  • season of fire
  • seed germination
  • seedlings
  • succession
  • understory vegetation
  • wilderness areas
  • wildlife
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 45674
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21238
TTRS Location Status: Not in file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, 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 (p.122) ... 'In recent years, the debate over Indian fire has continued in the context of discussions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. It is basically a dispute over whether or not Indian fires were a 'natural' form of fire management and, if they were not, whether fires should be set in wilderness areas. Wildlife biologists, foresters, fire ecologists, and others in the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies are involved. Beginning in the 1960s, fire-suppression policies in place for over a half-century began to change, and today forest managers burn with greater regularity than at any previous time. Their prescribed and controlled burns implicitly acknowledge the role that fires once played in ecosystems. But the Wilderness Act defines wilderness as 'untrammeled by man,' as 'primeval' in character, and as 'affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticed.' The debate reveals the persistent gap between those who argue that Indians (unlike humans in general) lived in harmony with nature, that their fires had an impact equal to or less than lightning fires, and that they had set fires for hundreds if not thousands of years and therefore qualified as a natural force; and those who disagree, arguing in contrast that Indian fires were not all benign, that thousands of years is not significant in ecosystem evolution, and that 'natural' means nonhuman.'

Krech, S. I. 1999. Fire [Chapter 4], in Krech S III ed., The ecological Indian: myth and history. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, p. 101-122.