TILLAMOOK STATE FOREST - The Oregon Department of Forestry sponsors "Burning Forests: Humans and Fire in the Pacific Northwest," an Oregon Chautauqua presentation by William Robbins. This free, public program takes place at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, in the Forest Learning Shelter at the Smith Homestead Day Use Area at milepost 22.5 along Oregon Highway 6 in the Tillamook State Forest.

Human- and naturally-caused fires in the Pacific Northwest can be traced back to prehistoric periods, according to Robbins. There is abundant archaeological evidence that Native American fires were important agents in modifying local environments to augment food supplies. Beginning in the mid-1800s, humans ignited and suppressed fires in increasing frequency as newcomers imposed their own ecological relationships on the landscape.

Robbins focuses on the cultural, ecological and economic function of fire, beginning with prehistory and moving through the onset of white settlement, the emerging timber industry, the creation of the state and federal forestry agencies and the development of forest fire protection efforts in the early 20th century. By placing fire, particularly human-caused fire, in its historical context, Robbins shows how political and economic interests shaped forestry and public policy.

The program is made possible by the support of the Oregon Council for the Humanities, an independent nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Oregon Department of Forestry. Admission is free but space is limited. To register, call (503) 359-7494 or e-mail jwarren@odf.state.or.us

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