From a Review by Don Garden in Environmental History, Vol. 11, #4, Oct. 2006, pp. 855-7:
Stephen Pyne needs no introduction to environmental historians. His many histories of fire have made his name one of the most recognized in the discipline.
This extended essay or "short book" resulted from a return visit to Australia, a month at the Australian National University. Divided into four parts, the first two summarize the main ground covered by Pyne's previous Australian book, Burning Bush. Part 1 outlines the use of the firestick by Aborigines and then by European colonists. Part 2 discusses the debates and practices among foresters in various part of the world, notably the United States until about World War II, concerning the exclusion of fire or its use as a management tool. The principal issue was whether to exclude fire from the land, or to use periodic fires for hazard reduction. This debate was essentially settled in Australia about the devastating 1939 fires in the southeastern states. In the United States the practice took much longer to be accepted. However, hazard reduction burning concerned some environmentalists, who feared it might change patterns of floral and faunal distribution.
Parts 3 snf 4 are an update, outlining the main developments since 1983 in Australian fire history....