Ames Forester


From the time white man first set eyes on the new world called America, he was awed by its tremendous wealth in forests and wildlife. As people began to colonize the new world, they became acutely aware of what they considered a detriment to the forests: fire. Lightning caused fires have been around for 12,000 years, roughly since the last ice age (8). These fires would move across the forests and eventually burn themselves out, started and stopped without man's help. In the far western Sequoia mixed conifer forests, white settlers discovered something they couldn't quite believe. They American Indians that lived in and around the Sequoia forest were seen occasionally setting the forest on fire (3). These ignorant savages! Why did they burn their forest and drive away wildlife?



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