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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wildfire news, November 4

New book about wildland fire smoke

Andrzej Bytnerowicz of the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, along with three other federal employees, edited a book that contains 26 research papers about smoke impacts in from prehistoric times to the present day.

The 686-page "Wildland Fires and Air Pollution, Volume Eight" is divided into four sections: fire in the Middle Ages, mega-fire events, climate change, and predictive tools.

A press release says the U.S. Forest Service and the Joint Fire Science Program provided funding for the book. More information about the book can be found at the Elsevier web site. Elsevier publishes FireRescue magazine and also published Wildland Firefighter magazine until they ceased its publication earlier this year.

The book can be ordered from Elsevier for $185. This is an interesting arrangement. Funding was provided by the U.S. Government (for something... editing?) but it is being sold by a private company for $185. Maybe this is similar to research papers by government scientists being published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Update @ 4:52 MT Nov. 4

We have learned that the Joint Fire Science Program, which receives funding from the U.S. Departments of Interior and Agriculture, contributed $7,000 towards the publication of the book. It was used for technical editing and the production of color plates. We were unable to confirm that the U.S. Forest Service actually contributed any funds directly, as the press release stated.

Elsevier has the copyright for the book. We know that it exists in electronic .pdf format (and could be distributed at no cost now that the editing is done) but the only way that the citizens who paid for the research can see the results of their investment is to pay Elsevier $185.

The researchers whose work appears in the book are from the United States, Australia, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Russia, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, China, Greece, Poland, and Canada.

This book is very expensive and is priced out of the range of many who could benefit from the information that was developed at taxpayer expense.

Here is an image of the cover of the book.

Scientific journals are quite pricey, with most of them having subscription fees of hundreds of dollars a year. An institutional subscription to the journal "Nature" costs $2,920 a year, while the "International Journal of Wildland Fire" is $990 for an online subscription and $1,240 for online and print. Personal subscriptions for both journals are much less expensive. International Association of Wildland Fire members can receive large discounts for individual subscriptions to the Journal of Wildland Fire.



Oregon: The cost of fighting fires

A television station in Oregon, "News Watch 12", is doing a two-part series on the cost of firefighting. Their web site with the first installment has a short article and also a video which includes interviews with fire managers.

2 comments:

ForestRanger said...

You might suggest a local library or research university library as a source for both these books and research journals. Many of them purchase institutional subscriptions and well-thought out significant texts.

Bill Gabbert said...

Good idea about checking libraries. I know for a fact that quite a few of them have subscriptions to the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

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