The Pyrocene: How Humanity Created a Fire Age
Media Type: Webinar
  • Stephen J. Pyne
    Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences
  • Forest History Society
Date: October 28, 2020

Cataloging Information

  • climate change
  • human caused fires
  • Pyrocene
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 6, 2020
FRAMES Record Number: 62249


Dr. Stephen Pyne, the world's foremost fire historian, discusses how we are living in a Fire Age of comparable scale to the Ice Ages of the Pleistocene, and whether our relationship with fire is a mutual assistance pact or a Faustian bargain. To read his responses to the questions he didn't get to at the end of the presentation, please visit the lecture webpage at Writes Dr. Pyne, “The Earth is a uniquely fire planet, humans a uniquely fire creature, and how they have interacted has been shaping our world throughout the Holocene. First through the control over ignition, and then by adding some control over living biomass, people have been reshaping biogeography and even climate. The process went on afterburners when humanity’s quest for more firepower led to the burning of fossil biomass. This pyric transition has passed over every environment that humans inhabit. It upset fire regimes in living landscapes, leading to fire crises. Its impact on the atmosphere has globalized that effect, quickening a fire epoch. We are creating a fire age, the Pyrocene, the fire-informed equivalent to an ice age.” This talk was part of the Lynn W. Day Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History series, cosponsored by the Forest History Society, Duke University's Department of History and its Nicholas School of the Environment.

Recording Length: 1:03:25
Online Link(s):
Link to this recording (Streaming; YouTube)