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Did You Know? 20 facts about wildland fires

Links Radio Expeditions: Yellowstone Fires
NPR reporter Alex Chadwick and National Geographic collaborate to provide an audio piece recalling the Yellowstone fires of 1988, which seared almost half the park. In addition, the site features a trove of National Geographic images of the Yellowstone fires.

National Interagency Fire Center
Based in Boise, Idaho, NIFC coordinates the firefighting operations of seven federal agencies, including the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Monitor the status of active and recent U.S. wildfires and learn what wildland firefighters do in the field to control and suppress a blaze.

So You Want to be a Firefighter??
Those interested in wildland firefighting will find plenty to peruse on this site, including information on where and how to apply for careers in wildfire control.
On this wildland firefighting industry Web site, view wildfire photography, decode firefighting acronyms, and participate in an online forum with professional hotshots and smokejumpers.

Those who live in areas prone to wildland fires must take precautions to safeguard their homes. The Firewise Web site offers information about reducing the risk of property damage and loss due to wildfire.

Fire Globe: The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
Operating under the umbrella of the United Nations Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the GFMC offers an extensive collection of materials and links to other Web sites related to wildland fires around the globe. On this site you will find fire reports by country, satellite images, glossaries, and much more.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fire Events
Peruse photographs of every major wildland fire event in countries around the world so far this year, from Laos to Venezuela, captured by NOAA's powerful satellites.

Books Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire by Stephen J. Pyne. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997.
The first in the author's six-book series on fire, all of which are recommended, this comprehensive volume examines the ways in which humans have used and approached fire through history. See Pyne's article on the wildlife-wildfire relationship.

Fire: Friend or Foe by Dorothy Patent. New York: Clarion, 1998.
What are the pros and cons of wildfires on the ecosystem? Patent provides a meticulous presentation and analysis of differing points of view on wildfires, controlled burning, and U.S. policies on wildland firefighting methods.

Forest Fires: An Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior, Management, Firefighting, and Prevention by Margaret Fuller. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1991.
Writer and scientist Margaret Fuller's volume on the nature of wildland fires and how to fight them is a useful and engaging introductory read for anyone seeking the basics.

Hellroaring: The Life and Times of a Fire Bum by Peter M. Leschak. East Peoria, IL: North Star Press, 1994.
Do you wonder what kind of person is drawn to a life of firefighting? Veteran firefighter Peter Leschak provides a candid personal account of life on the flaming front in this memoir, which touches on all aspects of wildland firefighting, from the hilarious to the tragic.

Special Thanks Olivier Arino, European Space Agency
Paul Head, U.S. National Park Service
Tess Shatzer, Lowell National Historical Park
Muriel Simon, European Space Agency
Brian Stocks, Canadian Forest Service
Judith Vecchione, NOVA producer, "Fire Wars"

Credits Jodie Abbatangelo, Intern
Lauren Aguirre, Executive Editor
Katie Caldwell, Associate Designer
Rick Groleau, Managing Editor
Brenden Kootsey, Senior Web Developer
Lexi Krock, Editorial Assistant
Peter Tyson, Editor in Chief
Anya Vinokour, Senior Designer

Image Credits Fire Wars Home—Photos: WGBH/NOVA

The Producer's Story—Photos: WGBH/NOVA

The World on Fire—Maps:
© European Space Agency,; Photos: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The World on Fire—Sources:
Global Fire Monitoring Center fire season summaries, available online at

United Nations Forestry Department Global Forest Fire Assessment, 1990-2000. All 495 pages of this document are downloadable from english.asp?section= fo/fra/docs/Wp55_eng.pdf

The global fire atlas images used with permission in this feature were generated in Italy by the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA's Earth observation satellite, ERS-2, captured the images using its Along Track Scanning Radiometer (ATSR-2), which pinpoints all nighttime fires on Earth with temperatures higher than 312 Kelvin.

Outfitting Wildland Firefighters—Photos: WGBH/NOVA

How Plants Use Fire—Photos: (1,3-5) © Corbis Images, (2) WGBH/NOVA

Wildfire Simulator—Illustrations: WGBH/NOVA

On Fire—Illustrations: WGBH/NOVA

NOVA News Minutes Credits
Fire Hunter
Written, Produced and Edited By Brad Kloza
Executive Producer for ScienCentral News: Eliene Augenbraun

Woodland Lab
Written by Jack Penland
Video Editor: Bess Greenbaum
Executive Producer for ScienCentral: Eliene Augenbraun

Wildfire Warning
Written by Brad Kloza and Jack Penland
Executive Producer for ScienCentral: Eliene Augenbraun

Produced by ScienCentral, Inc. in association with NOVA/WGBH Boston
Made possible in part by the generous support of the National Science Foundation

Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Web site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation, a co-funder of this site.

Compiled by Jodie Abbatangelo

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The Producer's Story | The World on Fire | Outfitting Wildland Firefighters
How Plants Use Fire | Glossary of Fire Terms | Wildfire Simulator | On Fire
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