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What's in a name?

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Hello readers,

My name is Cully, and I have a deep respect for the land and a passion for conservation here in my home state of Florida. I have dedicated my life to it. I certainly am glad that you have taken the time to learn more about one of the most interesting, challenging, and dangerous sciences in the world - the science of prescribed fire. This blog is unique because it was created to raise awareness of the importance of the usage of prescribed fire in our nation's ecosystems by sharing stories of true events that have taken place. Some stories will be my own and others will be from both named and anonymous professionals that are involved with fire. This website pays homage to the men and women that understand the risks and yet give selflessly to the cause of conservation through the use of fire.

What's the scoop with the name of this website? The goal is to get you to think about fire in a context that is not necessarily mainstream. In the world I live in, fire is seen as being synonymous with good environmental stewardship, however much of the developed world tends to have misconceptions about it. Growing up, I can remember watching the woods burn around the property near our home and I wondered all kinds of things, like where did all of the animals go? Weren't they killing trees? Would it burn up the food that the critters liked to eat? It was not until many years later that I truly began to understand why the woods on the cattle ranch adjacent to our property were burned every few years or so.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me set the stage here. Whether you decide to read this blog or not is certainly up to you. Through your free subscription available at the bottom of the home page, you can elect to receive notifications of both new and old stories being shared from the field. They will portray the strange, exciting, and unexpected events that take place in the landscapes of our nation's vast undeveloped areas far beyond the strip malls, neighborhoods and theme parks (not always though). It is true that most of the folks involved in conservation work are under paid and over worked. It is a labor of love to them. Their stories are remarkable. You can also expect a bit (but not too heavy) of the science, and why that is important for us to talk about. These stories are meant to help paint a picture for you - one of love, hate and even bravery.

There are many facets of conservation work. We are going to focus on the complex science of applying fire to ecosystems, not as a tool to destroy, but rather to improve manage and/or maintain the astounding level of biodiversity found in North America. We know what we know because of many years of fire research and experience from the field. What exactly is a prescribed burn? We will cover that too.

I will do my best to listen to your comments, engage with you, and from time to time I will humbly share with you a few things that I have learned in my last ten years working with prescribed fire (both on the ground and as a manager). I have always leaned away from calling myself an expert on fire, because once you proclaim that and get ahead of yourself, fire will set you firmly in your place if you are actively using it as a tool. I prefer to call myself nothing more than a student of the discipline. I invite you to join me as we walk together through the doorway into the realm of burning for the benefit of the land. As we walk together, remember that we are here to take a step beyond the face value of the destructive nature of fire, or in other words, we together will take a step beyond the fire.

CWL, 11/11/22

Updated, 12/4/22

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