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Community Fragmentation: Implications for Future Wild Fire ManagementAuthor(s): Robert G. Lee
Source: In: Davis, James B.; Martin, Robert E., technical coordinators. 1987. Proceedings of the Symposium on Wildland Fire 2000, April 27-30, 1987, South Lake Tahoe, California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-101. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 5-14
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (209 KB)
DescriptionTwo meanings of human community compete for public attention: (1) community as a sense of belonging to a particular social group within a society, and (2) community as a global ideal consisting of political expression, religious fulfillment, and/or harmony with the world at large. The latter meaning has become increasingly prevalent as we approach the year2000. This idealistic sense of community is represented in the Clementian theory of ecological succession that formed traditional fire suppression practices. Modern fire management, as practiced by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a very recent attempt to substitute rational fire management and particularistic thought for fire suppression practices motivated by such unrealistic ideals. There are signs that rational fire management, as legitimated by responsiveness to particular social groups, is competing with the pursuit of an ideal of a self-regulating natural world-where a "natural harmony" is produced by cycles of disturbance uninfluenced by human volition. Such "millennial fire management" substitutes idealism and aristocratic suffrage of fire scientists for particularistic social and political processes used to identify fire management objectives. Will the year 2000 bring the return of fire to the "Act of God"--even though it is a god whose design for natural ecosystems is revealed by scientists?
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CitationLee, Robert G. 1987. Community Fragmentation: Implications for Future Wild Fire Management. In: Davis, James B.; Martin, Robert E., technical coordinators. 1987. Proceedings of the Symposium on Wildland Fire 2000, April 27-30, 1987, South Lake Tahoe, California. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-101. Berkeley, CA: Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture; p. 5-14
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