December 2, 2022 | By:

Episode 99: Stephen Pyne On Humanity’s Evolving Relationship With Fire

Leaf Litter Stephen Pyne Pyrocene


Stephen Pyne, Author of “The Pyrocene: How we created an age of fire and what happens next”


Stephen Pyne became interested in fire as a result of 15 seasons on a fire crew, the North Rim Longshots, at Grand Canyon National Park.  He has written a gamut of fire-themed books, among them national fire histories for America, Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), Mexico (pending), and the Earth overall, culminating in The Pyrocene: How We Created an Age of Fire, and What Happens Next.  Other works include How the Canyon Became Grand, The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica, Voyager, and The Great Ages of Discovery: How Western Civilization Learned About a Wider World.  Presently, he is a writer, urban farmer, and emeritus professor at Arizona State University. Stephen holds a BA in English from Stanford University, and an MA and PHD in American Civilization from the University of Texas, Austin. He is currently writing a fire history of Mexico.

  • What if Bison could start fires?
  • How humans created the age of fire.
  • In the beginning there was lightning. (Or was it fuel?)
  • When did humanity really start turning on the afterburners on fire and climate change?
  • How human use of fire affects the oceans.
  • Good wildfires vs bad wildfires.
  • The illusion that we have control over large, intense fires.
  • The wildland/urban fire relationship at the center of all fire policy and mistakes.
  • Dealing with the huge fire deficit on wild landscapes.
Extra Credit
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“We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it”
~Billy Joel

Episode 99 Transcript (PDF)

Spread Rewilding Around the Globe!
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