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Brooks Library Research Guides: Museum of Culture and Environment: Fire
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Brooks Library Research Guides: Museum of Culture and Environment: Fire

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About This Guide
This research guide was created in conjunction with the Fall 2013 fire exhibit at Central Washington University's Museum of Culture and Environment. Check the web site for open dates and times, upcoming events, and more!

In keeping with the exhibit, this guide is intended to have items of interest for all ages and levels of expertise and interest, so select what suits you and leave the rest. Because we are CWU-based, there is some emphasis on college and research level publications.

Please contact one of the subject specialists with any comments about resources that should or should not be included, typos, broken links, or other suggestions for improvement. Thanks!
Archival Collections

(Morris Jenkins, on fire patrol at Goat Peak, circa 1930. From the Frederick Krueger Collection, held by the Archives and Special Collections, Brooks Library.)

Frederick Krueger Collection. Archives and Special Collections, Brooks Library, Central Washington University.
The Frederick Krueger Collection documents the history of central Washington, including that of Roslyn and Cle Elum firefighters. You can find a guide to the collection online, as well as select photos. To use the collection, please contact CWU Archives.     

Frank Church Papers, 1941-1984. Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives.
This collection contains correspondence, speeches, articles, reports, photos, films, and other papers relating to Frank Church's career as U.S. Senator for Idaho, 1956-1980. Included are reports from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, outlining policies regarding wildfires in the western United States. Please use the guide online to review the collection and contact the Special Collections and Archives at Boise State University if interested in consulting Church's papers.

Conservation Reports and Publications. University of Idaho. Library. Special Collections Department  
This collection comprises reports and publications produced by local and national conservation organizations and state and federal government offices relating to the Pacific Northwest. Reports on western wildfires are included. The guide to the collection may be found online. Please contact the Special Collections Department at the University of Idaho if interested in the collection.

Governor Cecil D. Andrus Papers, 1970-1995. Boise State University Library, Special Collections and Archives.
This collection comprises the gubernatorial papers of Cecil D. Andrus who served four terms as governor of Idaho. Included are reports on wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. Please use the guide online to review the collection and contact the Special Collections and Archives at Boise State University if interested in consulting Andrus' papers.

Articles, Journals, and Theses
Fire Ecology
This journal features peer-reviewed articles, letters and responses to articles. New issues of Fire Ecology come out in April, August and December.
Available: Online via Freely Accessible Journals, Spring 2005 to present

Hessburg, Paul E. and James K. Agee. 2003. "An Environmental Narrative of Inland Northwest United States Forests, 1800–2000." Forest Ecology and Management 178: 23–59.
Available: Online

Marlon, J.R., Bartlein, P.J., Long, C., Gavin, D., Anderson, R.S., Briles, C.E., Colombaroli, D., Brown, K.J., Hallett, D.J., Power, M.J., Scharf, E., Walsh, M.K. (2012). “A Long-term Perspective on Wildfires in the Western U.S.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 3203-3205.
Available: Online via HighWire Press

Nickels, Adam Matthew. (2002). History under Fire: Understanding Human Fire Modification of the Landscapes at Mount Rainier National Park. Thesis, Central Washington University.
Available: 4th floor, Brooks Library, LD5771.322 .N53 2002

Walsh, M.K., Whitlock, C., Bartlein, P.J. (2010). “1200 Years of Fire and Vegetation History in the Willamette Valley, Oregon and Washington, Reconstructed Using High-resolution Macroscopic Charcoal and Pollen Analysis.” Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 297, 273-289.
Available: Online via ScienceDirect

Walsh, M.K. (2008). Natural and Anthropogenic Influences on the Holocene Fire and Vegetation History of the Willamette Valley, Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington. PhD Dissertation, University of Oregon, Eugene.
Available: Via Summit

Walsh, M.K., Whitlock, C., Bartlein, P.J. (2008). “A 14,300-year-long Record of Fire-vegetation-climate Linkages at Battle Ground Lake, Southwestern Washington.” Quaternary Research 70, 251-264.
Available: Online via ScienceDirect

Wildfire Magazine
This trade journal, produced by the International Association of Wildland Fire (IAWF), aims to provide scientific and technical information suitable for general audiences as well as experts.
Available: Online

Atlases and Maps
Fire Danger in Your County
A quick visual guide to current fire danger levels in Washington state counties. Brought to you by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

GeoMAC Wildland Fire Support
"GeoMAC is an internet based mapping application which allows the public to access online maps of current fire locations and perimeters using standard web browsers." Maps fires from 2002 to the current year. Choose your "base data" such as satellite imagery, topographic map, or street map.

(Goat Peak fire lookout, August 28, 2010. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Photograph by Curt Smith.)

America's fires: a historical context for policy and practice / Stephen J. Pyne. (2010).
Pyne, author of several acclaimed books on environmental history, examines the historical context for current fire policies.

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the fire that saved America
/ Timothy Egan. (2009).
Egan vividly portrays Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and the rangers who battled the fires of 1910. Egan provides an engaging read while explaining how the U.S. Forest Service arrived at its policy of aggressive fire suppression, which it pursued throughout the 20th century.

Catching fire : how cooking made us human / Richard Wrangham. (2009).
Wrangham, renowned primatologist, attributes the success of the human race to our ability to cook food using fire.
Fire in the forest / Peter A. Thomas and Rob McAlpine ; with contributions from Kelvin Hirsch and Peter Hobson. (2010).
Writing for a lay audience, Thomas and McAlpine discuss basic questions about how wildfires burn, how they should be handled, and how they affect ecosystems--now and in the future.

Fire, native peoples, and the natural landscape
/ edited by Thomas R. Vale. (2002).
Vale considers how Native Americans used fire to modify landscapes, particularly in the western United States.

Fire lookouts of the Northwest / by Ray Kresek. (1984).
Kresek lists the lookouts built by the U.S. Forest Service and Civilian Conservation Corps to spot fires in the 20th century. This book notes the dates when lookouts were built and removed, maximum recorded wind speed, and more, but the stories really bring it all to life. Don't miss the lonely fire lookout and the elk calf (p. 159) and the mama bear who "promptly and expertly...put her children up one tree and [the lookout] up another" (p. 171), thus ending his relatively brief stint in that career.

Forest dreams, forest nightmares: the paradox of old growth in the inland West
/ Nancy Langston. (1995).
Using the Blue Mountains of eastern Washington and Oregon as an example, Langston considers how fire policies can negatively impact delicate ecosystems.

Forgotten fires : Native Americans and the transient wilderness
/ by Omer C. Stewart ; edited and with introductions by Henry T. Lewis and M. Kat Anderson. (2002).
Stewart challenges preconceptions about indigenous lifestyles, noting that native peoples greatly impacted landscapes using fires.

Indians, fire, and the land in the Pacific Northwest / Robert Boyd, editor. (1999).
This collection of essays draws on ethnographic and ecological perspectives to demonstrate how Native Americans impacted their landscape using fire.

Poets on the peaks: Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen and Jack Kerouac in the North Cascades / text and photographs by John Suiter.(2002)
This book considers ways that Snyder, Whalen, and Kerouac were impacted creatively by their experiences fire-watching in the Cascades.

The Thirtymile fire : a chronicle of bravery and betrayal
/ John N. Maclean. (2007).
Maclean describes the July 2001 North Cascades firefighting tragedy that took four lives. Kirkus Reviews calls this “a richly descriptive chronicle of disaster from an expert on the subject."

Young men and fire
/ Norman Maclean. (1992).
Maclean (author of A River Runs Through It) relates the story of the Mann Gulch forest fire that killed twelve smokejumpers in Montana in 1949. The author's experience as a logger and firefighter, and his thorough research, literary skill, and use of eyewitness accounts, mathematical models, and photos are noted in positive reviews from Kirkus, Choice, Library Journal, and Booklist.

Databases and Search Engines
Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is an abstracting service and digital library portal that deals with research in physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance and statistics. Material on wildfires is included.

The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database comprises over 27,000 citations on research in fire ecology. This database does not provide access to the full text of materials but items may potentially be found elsewhere at Brooks Library. is a "gateway" enabling you to search over 55 scientific databases and 2100 scientific websites simultaneously. Results may include journal articles, agency reports, data, and other information. is a commercial, science-oriented search engine. The content is geared toward scientists, but lay readers may also find it useful. Articles labeled "ScienceDirect," "Wiley," or "Springer" may be accessible to those with access to CWU library databases. An example result from Scirus is a 2010 Forest Service annotated bibliography on the effects of climate change on fire frequency and severity.

TreeSearch is a U.S. Forest Service database with a multitude of research from 1900 to the present. See Managing wildfire risk in fire-prone landscapes: how are private landowners contributing? (2013), for example. Search terms such as wildfires, indigenous, wildland fire, or prescribed burn may be useful.

Government Information
Fire & Aviation Management
Not entirely easy to navigate, this site is a rich trove of materials relating to fire in the National Parks and related information. The Learning Center in the Wildland Fire section includes Fire In Depth (for students), Fire Basics for Kids, resources for educators, and more. The Professional Tools section provides links to scholarly and practioner publications.
This website points to ongoing and completed research in fire and fuel management. It is targeted to policymakers, fire managers and practitioners, but many of the completed research projects also link to reports and journal articles.

"InciWeb is an interagency all-risk incident information management system" reporting on flood, fire and fire-related, and hazardous materials incidents. The information "is for information purposes only" and is not official. Maps, photos, news releases, and other information are included. This site seems to get overwhelmed with demand at times, resulting in slow response.

Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC)
NWCC provides information on large fires, including maps, daily weather updates, and projections on future conditions. Also available are links to software, GIS data, logistics information, fire analysis, and more. The NWCC area of coverage includes Oregon and Washington states. To find similar information resources for other regions, try the National Geographic Area Coordination Center.

Your Role in Fire Adapted Communities
This document outlines a strategy to plan for, respond to, and recover from wildland fires by restoring and maintaining appropriate landscapes, creating fire-adapted communities, and developing fire management activities best suited to this environment.

Kid Stuff

The True Story of Smokey Bear
. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service,1985.
The U.S. Forest Service promoted aggressive suppression of wildfires throughout the 20th century, initiating the Smokey Bear campaign to further encourage fire suppression. This comic is available in the Government Publications, Maps, and Microforms department at Brooks Library.

Fire Information for Kids
. n.d.
This informative one-page PDF from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks covers wildlifires vs. "helpful fires," effects on wildlife, and much more.

The Natural Inquirer
.The U.S. Forest Service provides this middle-school science journal. It includes two wildland fire editions: volume 4, number 1 (2003) and volume 13, number 1 (2011). The journal contains some material for the educator, such as rubrics, as well as activities and a glossary.

Forest History Society
What were some major forest fires? How has law and policy changed over time in the Forest Service, regarding fire or other issues? Who was the first female fire lookout? What did the fire lookouts eat? This site provides access to over 30,000 images plus numerous digitized copies of historic documents on forests and fires. Check research home for annotated citations for over 45,000 publications from 1633 to the present.

LANDFIRE, Landscape Fire and Resource Management Planning Tools, relies on "peer reviewed, consistent, and repeatable scientific methods" to provide spatial data layers which map or provide other data on vegetation, fire, and fuel characteristics. It is a tool for management relating to "prioritization of hazardous fuel reduction and ecological conservation activities...strategic resource management management planning, stewardship of public and private lands, and natural resource management." In addition, it provides "climate change research, carbon sequestration planning, [and] eco-regional assessments."

Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)

This collection focuses on the earth sciences, offering "lesson plans, scientific data, visualizations, interactive computer models, and virtual field trips" for all ages. Narrow your search by grade level, resource type, and collection, as well as educational standards. For example, you might search for "wildfire" and limit to K-2 to find "Smokey Kids."

Emergency Preparedness and Response - Wildfires
One of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pages on natural disasters and severe weather, this site features "information about health and safety concerns...and resources for specific groups, such as response workers, pet shelters, or people with chronic conditions or disabilities" (C&RL News, September 2013) with specific focus on wildfire-related health topics, including wildfire smoke. The CDC also has additional information about how to Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke.

Subject Specialist
Call Numbers/Subjects

Be sure to look at subheadings such as "Prescribed burning -- Northwest, Pacific," "Fire management -- United States," "Forest fires -- Detection," or "Forest Fires -- United States -- History."

Peeling Back the Bark: Forest History Society

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