Awful Splendour: A Fire History of Canada

TitleAwful Splendour: A Fire History of Canada
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsVan Huizen, P
ISBN Number0005-2949
Keywordsbrush fires, Forest &amp, Forest management, Forestry, Wildlife management

Pyne is a master historian whose command of language is elegant and evocative, and he uses it to great effect in each section to describe recurring and intertwining themes -what he calls "nested narratives" - such as climate, fire as a historical agent, and humans and the institutions they have created to manage fire. we learn of the constant battle between fire and ice to form Canada's fire rings (to which global warming adds an interesting new twist); Canada's most famous fires, such as the 1825 Mirimachi fire in New Brunswick or the 2003 fires near Kelowna; and of how a continuum of fire witnesses and "experts" - including naturalist Henry Hind (whose description of prairie fire as "an awful splendour" provides Pyne's title), Canadian geological surveyor Robert Bell, and "tracer index" creators James Wright and Herbert Beali - described and tried to grapple with Canadian wildfire.