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Who Needs a Forest Fire?
Paula Henson, author
Who Needs a Forest Fire? is the story of why California forests have become mismanaged, frequently fire-ravaged ecosystems. The early Native Americans used fire as a tool to tend the forest like a garden, but the arrival of miners and settlers at the time of the Gold Rush led to policies that upended the natural balance. Now we need to return to the best methods for taking care of our forests!
Piret Griffith, Youth Librarian, Truckee Library

Paula Henson’s eye-opening, captivating, and brimming with educational facts “Who Needs a Forest Fire” gives the reader an opportunity to look at forest fires from a completely different perspective. Who would think that we actually do need forest fires, but not the crippling megafires that Californians are all too familiar with? Henson gives us engaging, historical insight to the time when Native Americans instinctively knew how to keep forests healthy, by using small, controlled fires as a management tool, and treating forests as family.


Henson compellingly shows us how this approach changed with the Gold Rush settlers and miners who saw fires as an enemy, and who helped cause future catastrophic wildfires by extinguishing them, leading to a world of dry, densely-packed forests. Henson gives us hope by providing tips to help us to not only rebuild healthier forests and keep forest ecology strong, but also offers insight into different types of fire, how to prepare for fire, and how to stop wildfires. “Who Needs a Forest Fire” is a brilliant, and beautifully-illustrated factual reading that should appeal and resonate to a wide range of ages, as well as serve as a reminder that we all need to do our part to keep our precious and delicate forest ecosystem healthy and strong!