Vol II, Part II
By Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo
reviewed by Michael Radon
“The location of control lines is not your choice. Time is limited or fire intensity prevents full control.”
The fourth and final volume of this technical series concludes with data for preventing wildfires and increased forestation in Africa and Oceania. Readers familiar with the first volume or the first part of the second volume will be pleased to see the same level of detail and knowledge displayed in this closing section. After taking a small section to highlight some countries that have experienced great success in adding forested areas to their region, the author moves on to address how Africa can do its part, particularly through how much good has already been done in the past few decades. The importance for African nations to reforest is highlighted. The large amount of undeveloped land can be utilized by local farmers to bolster their own economies while also stewarding undeveloped land into rich vegetation that serves the planet, the local wildlife, and the people living in those areas. Finally, there is the section about wildfires in Oceania, particularly Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. Australia takes up the bulk of this section because of the increased landmass and urban development but also because of the unique challenges that fire prevention and firefighting in this part of the world presents. Also included are the interstitial chapters that round out a more complete picture of wildfire prevention and control. Such appendices in this volume include physical preparedness and engineering solutions for firefighting. The book and the entire manual closes out with the latest science on climate change and some final thoughts for the reader on the vitality of forestation is for this planet, both in its natural state and as humans continue to pollute the environment. One of the things that is most striking about this manual is that while the expectation is to learn a lot about wildfires around the globe and how they might differ in terms of infrastructure or geography, there is a lot of extra information that the reader picks up along the way. Whether it’s a short discussion about the history of the world’s largest reservoir lake or a simplified discussion of how thunderstorms are created and move, there is a lot to learn from across these two volumes in their entirety. All of it relates back to wildfires and climate in some way or another, but readers will be surprised at just how interesting all the asides and peripheral data become while completing one’s understanding of the entire ecosystem. The page count and breadth of the material may be intimidating for a casual reader, but for anyone interested in weather, forests, or an understanding of just how dangerous a wildfire can be in any part of the world, this manual is not a struggle at all to read and digest. This is partially because of the amount of visual reference that is included to make distant global settings easy to relate to but also has a lot to do with the author’s preference for teaching anybody interested in the subject rather than writing a book for the experts who already have the information. Interesting, fascinating, and chiefly accessible, this manual served to be quite enlightening on a topic that many have certainly heard about on the news but may not understand the full planetary scope therein.
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