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Wildfires: environmental and social entanglements
Wildfires: environmental and social entanglements

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3.1 Entanglement

In this course, entanglement can be understood as the many ways in which living systems, environmental processes, humans and flora, fauna and other life forms are connected to each other, mixed up, and more-or-less co-dependent on each other. This suggests a world of things, relationships, and experiences made by connections, influences, exchanges and interdependencies between environmental processes, humans and non-humans. Such chains of relation, mixing, and co-dependence are sometimes obvious and clear, but are often complex and difficult to trace.

Framed this way, entanglement can be understood as the mixing and entwining of environments, humans, physical matter, and other life forms, influencing how things connect and interact, whilst also shaping each as individuals or entities and the world in which they exist.

This concept of entanglement can help us understand wildfires and the challenge they pose. The next few pages of this course will explore how the concept of entanglement can be specifically used to understand wildfires by exploring the ideas and arguments of the environmental historian Stephen Pyne.