Pyrophobia in America – #poetry by Kate Rauner

We’ll spend a lot of moneyfirefighters
And casualties will grow,
Yet we’ll lose the battle
When fire is our foe.

We’re not the temperate forests
Of managed German parks.
Native people knew the truth
That now appears so stark.

The forests and the prairies
Of the New World’s endless lands
Evolved in step with fire,
Pyro-climatic grand.

Now like a threatened species,
It’s lost its habitat,
But unlike frogs or butterflies
Fire will roar back.

Summer heat is rising,
Drought spreads across the land,
Insects bore into the trees,
And fire makes its stand.

We now leave nature’s fires to burn
When fighting is futility.
It will take decades to reverse
The hubris of a century.

Severe fires visit America’s parks and forests every year. We’re learning about the role fire plays in these natural ecosystems, but still must protect lives and homes. Climate change only makes fire harder to manage. Articles on fire management pop up frequently, like this one.


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