From the Introduction (p.274) ... 'There is currently a great deal of interest in understanding and quantifying the extent of natural and human-caused fire in the different biomes throughout the world. In Chapter 8, Shvidenko and Nilsson examined the fire statistics for the Russian boreal forest region and showed that there is much uncertainly in these data because of the management and monitoring practices in this country. Although a much more accurate record for fire activity exists for the North American boreal forest region, this data set is still incomplete. In this chapter, we discuss the pedigree of the data sets that comprise the North American boreal forest record so that their limitations can be understood. Finally, the recent advances in geographic information systems (GIS) and their adoption by natural resource management agencies have led to the creation of databases that can be used to examine the spatial extent of fires in more detail. In this chapter, we also discuss the use of these spatial data sets for examining fire in the North American boreal forest. ' © 2000 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.