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New settlements on the edges of wilderness have expanded the map of fire country and extended the season to twelve months of danger, stretching across the country from Florida to California. As the dangers increase so do the inevitable conflicts among property owners, environmentalists, and firefighters. While evenhandedly addressing all interests, Maclean shows what can be done to reduce unnecessary risks while also protecting the nation's grasslands and forests, which require fire for their renewal. Fire and Ashes presents a riveting and emotional story, one that in many ways John Maclean was destined to tell.
From Fire and Ashes:
Horton, running flat out next to Naar, figured it had to be the weather that had betrayed him. He knew the afternoon winds would be strong; he knew the fire was building up. The burnout, though, had proceeded beautifully. He and his crew were at the head of a major fire conducting the day’s biggest operation, the crucial burnout. He had picked people who could handle the job. There would be more plum assignments to come.
Then out of nowhere a gigantic fire whirl had appeared followed by a wall of flame, and suddenly it was the worst moment of his career and even of his life. It had to be a dirty trick of the weather, not something he had done himself.
Things began to happen at speeds Horton had only heard about. Low grass transformed into tall flames. A wave of airless heat struck him a blow. He felt a stinging pain on his neck and dived headfirst into the grass, landing next to Naar. When he opened his eyes everything around him—the ground, his gloved hands, the exposed skin of his wrist and his yellow fire shirt—shimmered an incandescent white, except for one dark, round patch under his head, as though an atomic bomb had gone off and all that remained was a nuclear shadow.
|1||The Arsonist, the Watch, and the Rattlesnake Fire, 1953||9|
|2||The Ghost of Storm King||101|
|3||The Last Survivor||175|
|4||A Short of Wildland Fire||193|
|A Glossary of Formal and Informal Fire Terms||215|