Willow Creek History by Marcia Penner Freedman About the Author Fighting Fire in the Sierra National Forest Willow Creek History Marcia Penner Freedman

Fighting Fire in the Sierra National Forest

Fighting Fire in the Sierra National Forest

To live in the Sierra foothills on the periphery of the national forest is to live with the certainty of summer wildfires breaking out somewhere nearby. Come April, May, and June each year, Californians become alert to the prospect of wildfires. We listen to the news from around the state and follow the progress of a fire two hundred miles away. We watch the sky and sniff the air for the telltale signs of a fire.  It’s a reality we all live with.

Charles Howard Shinn, the first supervisor of the vast Sierra National Forest understood this.  In 1907 he wrote, “…one certainly lives on the wavering edge of trouble between June and December.” In those early years of the twentieth century, fire management was predicated on the notion that fire was the forest’s greatest enemy, a proposition put forth by Gifford Pinchot, the first Superintendent of the National Forest Service. This idea would dictate fire management policy until the mid-1960s, which marks the beginning of the environmental movement and a shift in thinking among public officials about fighting fires in the Sierra forest.

Focusing on the Sierra National Forest, this book traces the development of fire management from the beginning of the establishment of the National Forest Service to present day trends. Interweaving stories of people who have in some way been involved with wildfire, the story stands as a prototype of the general situation in California forests.

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Copyright © 2015 Marcia Penner Freedman
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