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A Season of Fire: Four Months on the Fireline of America's Forests
     

A Season of Fire: Four Months on the Fireline of America's Forests

by Douglas Gantenbein, Doug Gantenbein
 

On July 10, 2001, in northern Washington state, a rain of burning embers trapped two civilians and thirteen firefighters in a steeply walled canyon. With a roar heard thirty miles away, flames and black smoke swept overhead-leaving four firefighters dead.

This tragic story lies at the heart of A Season of Fire, a compelling narrative that begins in

Overview

On July 10, 2001, in northern Washington state, a rain of burning embers trapped two civilians and thirteen firefighters in a steeply walled canyon. With a roar heard thirty miles away, flames and black smoke swept overhead-leaving four firefighters dead.

This tragic story lies at the heart of A Season of Fire, a compelling narrative that begins in mid-May 2001 with dire early weather predictions, follows the training of thousands of new firefighters, and culminates in mid-September as the year's final blazes are extinguished and controversy erupts over the July deaths.

Journalist Douglas Gantenbein takes readers behind the scenes of smokejumpers' training and travels to the locations of the summer's most dramatic fires: Wyoming's Jackson Fire, in which millions of dollars were spent in an attempt to save a group of million-dollar homes; the Arthur Fire, which closed Yellowstone Park's eastern entrance for two weeks; and the Fridley Fire, which torched 50,000 acres of Montana woodlands in less than six hours.

In a fascinating exploration of the science and economics of firefighting, Gantenbein dramatically depicts the tinderbox that is the American West.

Editorial Reviews

A Season of Fire opens in May 2001, as new recruits train as firefighters amid dire weather predictions for the approaching summer. Douglas Gantenbein follows these smokejumper rookies as they battle blazes in northern Washington State and elsewhere. The narrative is action-packed and controversial: Journalist Gantenbein examines criticism of firefighting strategies during the deadly Thirty Mile Fire and other recent blazes.
Publishers Weekly
In this thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking book, Gantenbein, a writer for Sports Illustrated and Outside magazines, traveled from state to state covering major fires during the summer of 2001 to show "the strengths and weaknesses of how wildland fire is fought in the Western United States." Gantenbein has the knack for presenting complex material in a direct and exciting style, and as he explains the intricate differences among fires in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and Montana, he conveys an amazing amount of material related to fires and firefighting: the use of Pulaskis, "the combination hoe and pick that is the essential tool in the firefighting arsenal"; why the Ponderosa pine is more dangerous than the Douglas fir; and the key differences between the physically exhausting work of smokejumpers and the elite hotshots, who dig the fireline. Gantenbein's detailed observations about both the science and the economics of fires and firefighting help him forcefully demonstrate that "the continuing war on forest fires is a waste of time, money and lives," and that new approaches to thinking about fires are needed to "get beyond the current poisoned atmosphere between environmentalists, the Forest Service, and the logging industry." (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585421763
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/25/2003
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.34(h) x 1.02(d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Gantenbein has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Popular Science, and Backpacker. Author of the Outside magazine column "The Gear Guy," he teaches at the University of Washington and is a member of Seattle Mountain Rescue, the oldest and largest volunteer wilderness rescue organization in the United States.

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