On the first episode of California Burning, we explore the history of the U.S. Forestry Department, and how a series of unprecedented wildfires in the early twentieth-century led to our current forest management policies that have made our forests ripe for the catastrophic wildfires we’re seeing in the West today. Forest historians Steven Pyne and Char Miller tell the story. 

 

On this episode we also hear from Smokey Bear Biographer James Lewis to learn about the rich history of the most effective advertising campaign in American History and how the effectiveness of that campaign led to a deep misunderstanding of fire ecology.

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Episode 1: Smokey Bear, the Department of Forestry and the Big Burn

A co-production of