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Blue Dot 126: Dr. Don Hankins

Don Hankins

Dave learns about fighting fire with fire in this episode as he talks to CSU Chico Professor of Geography Don Hankins. Dr. Hankins teaches a course called "Pyrogeography" examining the role of fire on both landscapes and the communities that inhabit them. Hankins is a firm believer in the importance of using prescribed burning techniques to control fuel loads and enhance the native ecology of areas throughout California that evolved with fire as a natural element of their ecosystems.

Indigenous people that have lived in these landscapes for thousands of years have always used fire as a tool to alter the land to make it more favorable for their activities from hunting and fishing to travel and basket making. But after a 150 years of wildfire suppression in the west, fuel loads have built up to the point that they are major contributors to the rise of "megafires." such as the Carr and Camp fire events that devastated Northern California this year.

Dave Schlom is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.