The Interior West
208 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
9 b&w illustrations, 1 map
Release Date:13 Mar 2018

The Interior West

A Fire Survey

The University of Arizona Press
Its fires help to give the Interior West a peculiar character, fundamental to its natural and human histories. While a general aridity unites the region—defined here as Nevada, Utah, and western Colorado—its fires illuminate the ways that the region’s various parts show profoundly different landscapes, biotas, and human settlement experiences.

In this collection of essays, fire historian Stephen J. Pyne explains the relevance of the Interior West to the national fire scene. This region offered the first scientific inquiry into landscape fire in the United States, including a map of Utah burns published in 1878 as part of John Wesley Powell’s Arid Lands report. Then its significance faded, and for most of the 20th century, the Interior West was the hole in the national donut of fire management. Recently the region has returned to prominence due to fires along its front ranges; invasive species, both exotics like cheatgrass and unleashed natives like mountain pine beetle; and fatality fires, notably at South Canyon in 1994.

The Interior West has long been passed over in national fire narratives. Here it reclaims its rightful place.
Included in this volume:
  • A summary of 19th- and 20th-century fire history in the Interior West
  • How this important region inspired U.S. studies of landscape fire
  • Why the region disappeared from national fire management discussions
  • How the expansion of invasive species and loss of native species has affected the region’s fire ecology
  • The national significance of fire in the Interior West
An invaluable resource for students of fire and residents of the West.’—Choice 'Pyne provides a unique perspective on where we as a fire community have been, and how far we have left to go.'—Bryan Karchut, Fire and Aviation Staff Officer, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests

‘In The Interior West: A Fire Survey, renowned fire historian Stephen J. Pyne continues his To the Last Smoke series with this thought-provoking essay collection on fire management in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.’ – David Bolingbroke, Nevada Historical Society Quarterly
Stephen J. Pyne is a historian in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 30 books, mostly on wildland fire and its history but also dealing with the history of places and exploration, including The Ice, How the Canyon Became Grand, and Voyager. He is also the author of multiple volumes surveying the American fire scene, including Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America and To the Last Smoke, a suite of regional reconnaissances, all published by the University of Arizona Press.
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