Forest fires are in the news, but what do we know about them? We hear and see the results, but for an in depth look there are books to turn to. Here are three titles that will give you an idea of who fights these fires, how they are fought, and how it all came to pass.
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America
by Timothy Egan. The Great Fire of 1910 severely tested a newly formed and severely underfunded U.S. Forest Service. The story of how the Forest Service was created to conserve the wilderness is interspersed with personal accounts of those who fought the fire and lived. Three million acres and five towns across three states burned in less than two days. Ten thousand people turned out to fight for lives and property. Egan has written an absorbing story that explains and adds to these amazing statistics.
Young Men and Fire
by Norman MacLean. The story of 1949’s Mann Gulch Fire in Montana. Fourteen smokejumpers were sent to deal with a small fire, a simple fire. Two hours later it exploded, and sent them running for their lives. This award-winning book is a primer on fires and firefighting even as it tells a compelling tale of lives lost and experience gained.
Fire on the Mountain: the True Story of the South Canyon Fire
by John MacLean. Fast forward to 1994 and Storm King Mountain in Colorado. A dangerous fire blows up just outside of Glenwood Springs in rugged terrain. John Maclean investigates a fire in modern times that has many of the characteristics (and consequences) as the1949 one his father Norman described.