A few years ago I walked through a burning landscape with a young archaeobotanist, Xavier. We were in Arnhem Land, and the local Indigenous landowners had lit a low-intensity fire – a cool burn – to encourage new growth and reduce the fuel load around nearby settlements. The newly blackened landscape looked clean, even beautiful.
Billy Griffiths reviews 'Burning Planet: The story of fire through time' by Andrew C. Scott
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Billy Griffiths is a Melbourne-based writer and historian. He is the author of The China Breakthrough: Whitlam in the Middle Kingdom, 1971 (2012) and co-editor (with Mike Smith) of The Australian Archaeologist's Book of Quotations (2015). His latest book is Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia (2018, Black Inc.).
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