Diary: Stephen Pyne, A Personal History of F…

The 2015 Aggie Creek fire outside Fairbanks, Alaska. Photo: Philip Spor, Alaska Department of Forestry Today three fires are sweeping the Earth. One is nature’s; the other two are ours. Lightning kindles the first—like the fires flaring across the boreal forest. The human hand sets the second—like the agricultural fires in greater Amazonia. Human engineering houses the third in machines—the colossal combustion of fossil biomass that is turning our atmosphere into a crock pot and our oceans into acid vats. The first two burn living landscapes of conifers, shrubs, and grass. The third burns lithic landscapes, once living matter now fossilized into oil, gas, and coal.

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