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Regents' Professor on fighting the Wallow Fire

Stephen Pyne, a Regents' Professor in the School of Life Sciences, in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, discusses American firefighting in regard to the Wallow Fire that has dominated recent news stories.

Author of "Fire: A Brief History" and "Tending Fire: Coping with America's Wildland Fires," Pyne writes in an opinion piece that appeared in the Arizona Republic: "For more than a century, Americans have faced fire on their public wildlands. For the first 50 years, we tried to abolish it and failed. For the past 50 years, we have tried, with patchy success, to restore it. What we have learned is that all strategies for wildland fire work brilliantly until they fail, and they can fail under conditions that wipe out all the good they have done.

"Letting fires burn freely in the backcountry is cheap, safe and ecologically benign until, inevitably, one bolts free, rips through towns, smokes in valleys, and overruns protected places outside its designated domain."

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