"Modern fire rarely exhibits the qualities of historical fire with its enormous releases of energy, rapid spread, and long duration. When it does, the results are deemed catastrophic and sociopolitical forces intervene to prevent its reoccurrence. Yet, ecosystems are dependent on fire for their vitality and sustainability, creating a conflict between the needs of nature and the fears of human societies. What is the future of a purposive role for fire in ecosystems? How can fire as a historical force continue to play a similar role in the future? This paper examines the relationship between humans and fire, and explores its meaning for how we will make decisions about fire's future as both a property of nature and as a tool for human development."
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