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by Wildland Firefighters


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Aviation & Jumpers
Title Review
Fire Bomber into Hell: A Story of Survival in a Deadly Occupation
Very interesting book, from Linc Alexander's personal stories to the history of fire bombers and aerial firefighting. A "must read" for anyone who has worked on the ground fighting fire with these pilots' support overhead, and for anyone who has wondered exactly what airtanker pilots are faced with and what they do. Excellent writing. A rare glimpse into the profession. I enjoyed it. Five saws. Strider
Fire Bombers in Action Videobook Be the first to rate this book!
Fly the Biggest Piece Back
This book tells the story of mountain pilot Bob Johnson and the Johnson Flying Service. While the book concentrates on Johnson and his company it gives a good account of the pioneering pilots involved with the early years of Forest Service aviation & smokejumping. Many tales of harrowing flights, landing on sand bars to deliver firefighters or supplies, crashes and close calls. An excellent read that was difficult to put down. I give it 4 saws Pulaski
High Mountain Two-Manner
A very good book. I enjoyed it. A refreshing change from some of the recent books about fire-fighting/smokejumping that sensationalize and glorify the job/lifestyle. This factual book takes place in Missoula in the early 50’s. It was written in large part by using the author’s letters home as reference so the detail is fresh and crisp. Interesting for the descriptions of Western Montana in the 50’s but I enjoyed mostly for the life changing/ heart-charging experiences very similar to my own. four saws !! Jim Hedges

One of my favorite early-FS and fire books. Five Saws. Young and Still Learning in Region One

Jumping Fire: A Smokejumper's Memoir of Fighting Wildfire in the West
The book is a good read, well crafted and the story "flows" from page to page, chapter to chapter. Murray Taylor did not make concessions to the "non-fire" folks that might read the book and not understand fire terms but told the story in a way that all could understand (plus he added a glossary). He did romanticize the life of smoke jumper (AKA - yard darts) a bit in places, so that I wanted to go out and sign up. But then I know the kind of place they put those people and the abuse they do their bodies and quickly forgot the notion. Besides, I am to old and fat to be jumping from perfectly good airplanes. I recommend the book highly, if you fight fire or not. WP

Damn, this guy's a gifted writer. His book should be proof to the world at large that, as Hunter proclaimed in his last TheySaid post, firefighters are some of the best people in the world. Murry's book gives you a long look into the world of the smokejumpers - their quirky and hilarious personalities, their indomitable spirits and their humanity. There's a whole storehouse of laugh-your-ass-off tales of bears in the food cache and parachuting into shitters (and rivers, and moose...), and amazing stories of battles with the dragon that should ring true for anybody who has ever set foot on the line. Beyond that, he really captures the essence of the fire world that we all know and love - the camaraderie, the dirt and exhaustion and blood, the everyday courage, the beauty of the wilderness and the awesome power of the dragon. Taylor is wise, funny and eloquent. I hope that retirement will give him time to crank out more smokechasing tales, 'cause he is very good at this author business. JM

I read this book after I got back from Idaho and Montana this year and it was a real treat. Not only was it accurate but just the language Murray used took me right back out on the line! We got to coyote camp with some jumpers from Grangeville this summer and so the book brought back those memories as well. There are some places where he describes being caught by the dragon and how unpredictable it can be, which he tells with such accuracy that it gets my heart thumping!!! I have read most of the books on wildland firefighting but this one is exciting, informative and one of those all nighters!!! When you pick it up don't plan on doing anything else for a while because you can't put it down! I also admire his dedication to wildland firefighting and wish him a meaningful retirement. I actually bought a copy for one of the guys on my crew as a birthday present!! Firebabe NH#3

A fine book. Plenty of detail, and plenty of firsthand accounts. Tends to let the reader in on the real stuff. Maybe only a FF could relate to some of the described scenes, however, my wife really enjoyed it and she has not ever been too close to a real fire. I would recommend this book to anyone! -Bob G.

I read Jumping fire two years ago during the 2000 fire season. I thought the book was terrific. At the time I was on a Helitack crew. I learned al lot about what smokejumpers do and the training they go through. I would recommend this book to anyone in the wildland fire community or firefighting business. Sincerely, GN

I rate the book Jumping Fire Excellent, because it describes a fire season as it does happen in real life, being I worked the summer of 2001 as a fire lookout and saw first hand. Constantinos

One of the best wildland firefighting books I have read. His style keeps rookies, snookies and veterans interested.  It is good for the general public to give them a glimpse in to the world of wildland firefighting, in easy to understand terms. This will be a re-read for me for years and I have recommended it to a lot of people. Way to go Murray! Radio girl

A great book...As an early 1960's US Forest Service Helitack Smoke Jumper, this book brought back many good memories of my days (& nights) fighting fires all over the intermountain western US. Many lessons to learn about forest fires in this book. DD

Jumping Skyward
Another good book about how jumping use to be. About Seven Squad and how it was in Idaho back in 1950s. About the jumpers on the squad and how different they were but how they fit together. Hawk, their spiritual leader, jumps skyward not down when he leaves the plane. R5 dispatcher
Pictorial History of Smokejumping Be the first to rate this book!
Smoke Jumping on the Western Fire Line: Conscientious Objectors During World War II
Firefighters that were Conscientious Objectors been a really "quiet" subject for a long time, for many reasons, but COs did jump during WWII, and in fact probably kept the program alive in those rough years. An excellent book. Young and Still Learning in Region One
Smokejumpers '49: Brothers in the Sky
One of my favorite early-FS and fire books. Young and Still Learning in Region One

Trimotor and Trail


While I am probably a bit biased as I enjoy historical accounts of this general era, I thought this book was excellent. The book generally is about the career of Earl Cooley one of the original smokejumpers, but it also give a good accounting of the early days of the smokejumper program. The funniest part was the training the original jumpers received before their first jump.. but I aint gonna tell ya, you will have to read it. An interesting section on the Mann Gulch fire which I went back to cross reference when I read Young Men and Fire. Excellent book. I would give it 4 saws. Pulaski

Anyone interested in smoke Jumper history, or the early days of the Forest Service, should try and find and read this book by Earl Cooley, Mountain Press Publishing Co. Missoula, 1984. No I won't loan out my autographed copy. Tom Jones, old FS retiree

Two-Man Stick
I bought this book while on a day off in Idaho on the Burnt Flats Fire. A small bookstore in Grangeville had it on display in the window. I read most of it on the drive home to California, and enjoyed every bit. A kind of more quaint and reserved story compared to "Jumping Fire" but some of the same situations were presented. The author does a great job of describing the incredible hardship and joy involved in fighting wilderness fires. The successes and failures of firefighting were displayed with equal enthusiasm, and except for one early tirade about the "let burn" philosophy, the tone is modest and yet thrilling. I always wanted to be a smokejumper, and these books give me reason for regret. Tim C.

This recounting of how a young east-coast man broke into the art of flinging oneself out of a perfectly good airplane is entertaining and informative. Recounting early firefighting efforts, the author does a great job setting the scene for the reader, and leading him up and down the Idaho Mountains. 4 Saws Paddlefire

Four Saws. Memoirs of smokejumpers. About McCall Jumpers back in the late 40's. Good history of jumpers and the old Tri-motors. Easy reading and hard to put down. R5 dispatcher



Historical/Biography
Title Review
A Great Day to Fight Fire: Mann Gulch, 1949
Excellent read. NorCal Tom

Five Chain Saws. This is a book well worth reading. I read it twice with Young Men in Fire between each time. It is about the folks at Mann Gulch. How they got there and why there were there and what happened afterwards. R5 Dispatcher

Mark Matthews weaves together disparate sources including interviews, letters, video taped interviews by others, school oral history projects and a time capsule buried at the jump base at Missoula to create a very believeable third person account of the events leading up to and following the Mann Gulch disaster. I really felt as if I got to know the victims and survivors better and it brought a very human dimension to each of the victims and survivors. The portrayal of Robert Jansson and Wagner Dodge were especially realistic to me. Overall for those that know the story from reading Young Men and Fire, Smokejumpers 49: Brothers in the Sky and Trimotor and Trail, this will add to your understanding of the Mann Gulch Fire. Intimate details like the red felt hats that the jumpers wore or the Kant Bust 'em Frisco Jeans and Whites boots make you feel as if you were a witness to these events. 5 Saws.  FC180

Area Ignition: The True Story Of The Spanish Ranch Fire or [one saw]
The book is the actual true story of the Spanish Ranch Fire in 1979, off of Hwy. 166 in San Luis Obispo County. Four CDF (CAL FIRE) employees out of the Nipomo station lost their lives. An excellent three hour read, 126 pages. The book goes into great detail of the human element / crew cohesion or lack thereof. All the players involved were interviewed during a staff ride in 2005 and subsequent follow-up interviews over a four year period. The book would be a good read for all ranks involved in wild land firefighting. Five Saws. CDFBC

While some may like this book, I found it tedious, repetitive and without much insight. The descriptions of the fire behavior are totally lacking any scientific basis. Comparing fire behavior to surfing did not do it for me. He describes LCES without mentioning Paul Gleason. The photographs included in the body of the text are simply awful, blurry and pixilated beyond usefulness. And he constantly refers to the accident as an "overrun" which I found annoying and without explanation. I believe the accepted term is a "burnover".It also could have done with a good editor, but maybe with an editor there would be even less of this thin pamphlet. 1 Saw. FC180

Beyond Tranquillon Ridge
I read this after I went on the staff ride at Vandenberg. It was great meeting Joe and hearing some of his accounts from the fire that were not mentioned in the book. Seeing the actual site brought the whole book together for me. On a personnel account, I think this book has brought my father and me closer together. My father was on the Honda Canyon Fire and is mentioned in the book a few times. After giving the book to my dad he brought it back to me 2 days later and told me it brought back a lot of old memories that we sat down and talked about for hours. I really liked the book and I couldn't put it down until I was almost done with it also. The most amazing thing about the book is reading about how many folks got burned over on this fire and the amazing force of the winds they were dealing with. If you haven't read it, I would go out and buy it. An R5er

In response to your request for feedback on the book "Beyond Tranquillon Ridge".... I also read the book after participating in the "draft" Honda Canyon Fire staff ride as did An-R5er. The book is a great read for any student of fire and a must read for anyone planning on attending the staff ride. The four individuals killed on the 1977 brush fire at Vandenberg AFB included the Vandenberg Base Commander, the Vandenberg Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief and a Dozer Operator. This book is written by Joseph Valencia who was a firefighter with Santa Barbara County Fire and on one of the first in engines to the fire. Besides the 4 fatalities, 7 entrapments occurred on the fire. yactac

I was assigned to this fire as a Division Boss and responded from another fire located in the Mariposa County area east of Coulterville. When I arrived I noted constant brisk and variable winds and it was reminiscent of my coast assignment when with CDF in San Diego and Orange counties. I was a witness to sustained fire whirl that lasted about three minutes. When you think about it that is a long time. This book is well written, very descriptive of the many and varied experiences all of us witnessed. The burn over was no surprise to me. While we all mourned the loss of fellow firefighters, we didn’t have any time to dwell on that tragedy. What did impress me was the total burn off down to the soil level of the fuels. I found places where the earth had a crust on the surface and I attributed that to the heat of the fire front as it passed. I even found sand areas where the surface looked like glass. I do recommend this book for all who are assigned to a coastal response station. Be it in Marin, Sonoma or San Diego county, it gives a good description of what coastal fires can do and it is crazy. First it runs inland. Then the fog comes in and it tries to lay down except above the fog levels. Then it runs back out to the beach and lays down again. This goes on every day. If you are not focused, this is the kind of fire that can go into the history books. Normbc9

Five Chain Saws. Good book. Anyone who has fought fire in southern California, can fully understand what happened on the Honda Canyon Fire. Anyone who plans on one day maybe fighting fire in Southern California should read this book. It also shows you other hazards that are involved with fighting fire. R5 dispatcher

The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America
(author: Timothy Egan)

This book is another telling of the 1910 fires in Idaho and Montana. It is different in tone and scope than Steve Pyne's "The year of the fires" which I also enjoyed. Pyne's book is wide in scope and tells the story of many more personalities and many other areas in the 1910 Fire Storm. The focus of "The Big Burn" is really pretty limited to the story of Wallace, Idaho and environs and the story of Gifford Pinchot and his relationship to Teddy Roosevelt. With those two focus points, the story is told moving back and forth from Wallace to Washington. The politics of Conservation and the role of the President, John Muir and Gifford Pinchot in setting the course for all the federal land management agencies of the future is clear. The final scene of the fire run of August 20 and 21, 1910 is almost anticlimactic because it seems the course has been set for the fledgling Forest Service. But the aftermath focusing on the story of Ed Pulaski and Gifford Pinchot is both tragic and revealing. As I said I enjoyed both books but I feel as if I was in Wallace when the fire storm hit after reading "The Big Burn". Highly recommended, 5 saws. FC180
The Big Burn (of 1910) Be the first to rate this book!
Coming Through Fire
An excellent book with unbelievable photos. Do you want an honest feel for what it is like to be a member of a "Unit Crew" protecting some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet? Pick up this book. The writing and photography are as one. All photos have a short caption but if you've been a member of a unit or shot crew the captions are there solely for the unknowing. 5 chainsaws. SD
Deep Survival,
Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

Excellent book, a must read to see why people in stressful situations make bad decisions when they could have, should have, did know better. Lessons Learned! NorCal Tom

I recommend this for all wildland firefighters. 5 saws Another TC

This is a terrific book! Gonzales makes the complex material - that includes some neuroanatomy, physiology, lots of stress psychology, human factors - so accessible. It's an easy and riveting read. The book is rich with stories, illustrations and insights from "survival at the boundary of life and death". Awesome!

Read this book, and consider what you don't yet know about how human beings function and how you can potentially think like a survivor. Some cognitive processes occur within our awareness. However many hot and cold cognitive processes occur outside of conscious awareness and control. Under stress, the human organism clicks into self-preservation mode. Recognition Primed Decision Making may often be more about the emotional charge on those slides in your slidebox than about reason. The first set of neural paths via the amygdala (hot-cognition, emotional, hair on the back of the neck) are a split-second faster than the second set of neural paths that go to reasoning centers in the brain (cold-cognition). Survivors seem to be able to use hot cognitions (emotion) to inform reason and reason to moderate emotion so as to adapt more quickly to new environmental circumstances, optimizing their potential for survival. A must read! Mellie

Epitaph for the Giants
Epitaph for the Giants, The Story of the Tillamook Burn is the fascinating story of a fire (complex) that burned 411,000 coastal Oregon acres near my home in a couple of weeks in August 1933. (I wasn't born yet!) About 250,000 acres burned in one day when the fire blew up and rained ash and tree parts down on ships 500 miles out at sea! Kemp intersperses daily fire reports with current newspaper headlines to provide the historical context. Good factual companion book for "Fire on the Wind" (juvenile fiction) if you have a young person you're sharing the Tillamook fire story with. Five chainsaws. Cheryl
Fire (Junger)
I don't know if this counts, 'cause its not an exclusive fire book, but Sebastian Junger's book "Fire" is an excellent read. only the first two chapters are about wildfires, but they are very good, if brief, descriptions of life on the fireline. any book that includes the line that "the government throws money at a fire until the weather changes" is pretty dialed into to the thoughts/feelings of those who chase smokes all summer. One chapter deals with the south canyon fire, and while I disagree with some of the statements made, it is nonetheless a fine piece. I would give the chapters dealing with fire 4 chainsaws (and the rest of the book is fantastic also). JerseyBoy
Fire: A Brief History
Part of Pyne's Cycle of Fire series (including also Fire In America; Vestal Fire; Burning Bush; World Fire) that tells the environmental history of fire and humanity's development and use of fire technology. Tends to be dry unless you're really interested in fire, but for the fire buff, chock full of stories and facts. Pyne is always looking at the co-evolution of fire and humans. Four saws. Cheryl
Fire and Ashes
Great and knowledgeable read. The Maclean name has significantly brought the history of forest fires, and the men who fight them to the forefront. Five saws. Deno

A good read for those interested in historical fire accounts. The book tells the story of the Rattlesnake Incident on the Mendocino NF in 1953 where there were 15 fatalities. The author jumps around time wise which can be a little confusing sometimes (this writing trait must run in the family). This is followed up with the Sadler fire burnover incident in Nevada in 2000 and ends with a chapter with an update of Mann Gulch with another visit to the site with the lone survivor Bob Sallee and a short chapter with kind of an editorial discussion on the evolution of fire suppression . Overall it was a very interesting book and difficult to put down at times. I would give it 4 saws (well, to be honest I would say 3.5 saws but I dont think you have a half saw icon). Pulaski

Ab has not yet read the book. You can be sure he will review it in due time.

Fire at Peshtigo
Those who know nothing about this fire need to read about it. We need to remember fires like this. Remember what happened before we fought fires like we do now. Well worth reading. R5 dispatcher

This is a great book! I feel that this could be the first Urban Interface Incident. I highly recommend that you visit the Museum. Please study the history. I rate this book five Saws! Dan Collins

Fire Crew: Stories from the Fireline Be the first to rate this book!
Fire Fighters, Stories of Survival from the Front Lines of Firefighting

Good book, nice intro to the writings of some excellent classic wildland firefighter writers. This book of stories and excerpts from other books also includes some writings of structure firefighters. (4 saws) Strider

Fire Girl: The Story of One of the First Female CDF Fire Fighters Be the first to rate this book!
Fire in Their Eyes: Wildfires and the People Who Fight Them
A rather basic tome on the job of FF. Very basic. Very Understandable. No "higher level" stuff. Good to excellent for the "new to Wildfire person" or the older teen that's interested in fire. -Bob G.

Describes very well men and women wildland firefighters, the excitement and danger of their jobs, their tools, methods, and training. Picture book format. Informative. Easy to read or browse. Great for high-schoolers. Four saws. NorCal Tom

Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests: A Photographic
Interpretation of Ecological Change Since 1849

I have been thru this book several times and each time I learn more. The photos and conclusions are done in a manner that shows very factual and thorough research. A lot of effort went into compiling this information and it is well worth the time to go thru it. I find it amazing that what many have taken to be a normal forest area is so different from what it was before fire was eliminated from the equation. Today's forest managers face a tremendous problem dealing with this increased fire potential while trying to normalize forest areas, as well as dealing with the environmental concerns of special interest groups. A must read for those that think things are fine as they are now. 5 saws. Rick M
Fire on the Mountain
Excellent book. Some might say that all the facts are not 100%, but none the less it is interesting and informative. Nearly impossible to put down and come back to later. This book should be on every wildland firefighter's "must read" list. JG

This is a must read book. I suggest that you read Young Men and Fire first to see the different writing styles and perspectives of a father and his son. Five Chain Saws. Hunter

A fine and entertaining book. Enough detail to satisfy the FF, and enough story to satisfy the casual reader. Lets the common folk feel what is involved in a real fire. Maybe we're not just overpaid flunkies after all. This was one of my personal favorites. I was unable to quit this book. It just kept me going and going to the bitter end. All hail this tome. Salute. -Bob G

Continuation of reviews, Siskiyou's, RAW's and FedFire's reviews.
Abercrombie's review that focuses on the responsibility of the individual firefighter for his or her own safety.

Fire on the Rim
Interesting story of an individual's seasons in fire suppression in the Grand Canyon. A very interesting book and well worth it, but I wouldnt put it in the "must read" category. JG

This is an excellent book, seems to me to be the most realistic of those out there. It helps to know the Canyon, but get a good map and follow along. Nobody dies , nobody shelters up but it gives anyone interested a look at the world of wildland firefighting. and some of the good old bureaucracy that we have to deal with. DR

I loved it! Pyne writes with great humor and intelligence. Though his experiences were rather unique at the Grand Canyon rim, there are many broad parallels to fire-fighting elsewhere, especially to handcrew firefighting. Especially intriguing is the relationship between the Regulars, such as Pyne, and the pick-up (Indian) firefighters. I chuckled as I saw the analogous behaviors and oddities with my own inmate firefighters. For instance, they tend to idolize their leaders, far beyond what we know is reasonable, and pass down their (often dramatized) exploits in an oral tradition to their families and acquaintances....
     Pyne got sent out to California once, and got stuck in a black hole on a big fire - "we've all been there"!!   :-)  Definitely worth reading. MW

One of Stephen Pyne's best! A snapshot of the 70's. 4 chainsaws BIZ

I really enjoyed this book and identified with many of the situations described. It follows the author on a fictional season of firefighting based on his 15 years at the Grand Canyon. I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering working for a Federal wildland agency to give them some idea of what the job is about and how its different from working for a city fire department. 4 Chainsaws. FedFire

I enjoyed this book! Stephen Pyne really captured the life of a firefighter in the southwestern U.S. in the late 60's to early 80's in this book. I worked in fire management on the south side of the Grand Canyon on the old Chalender Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest from 1974 to 1978 and knew or knew of many of the people he discussed in the book, including two classmates in the 1975 graduating class of the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. I believe the author and I crossed paths by taking the same intermediate fire behavior course at the Albright Training Center on the south rim in 1976 or 1977. Although the North Kaibab Ranger District and the north rim of Grand Canyon National Park were separated by geographically and in perspective from the south side I remember many of the incidents he talks about. His descriptions of what certain days were like match my memory very closely. His description of "Barbara Red Butte", a woman working the Red Butte lookout on the Tusyan Ranger District of the Kaibab is right on, we both listened to her radio traffic at the same time. His short accounts of the "Rampart Cave Sloth Dung Fire" at Grand Canyon National Park, an event covered endlessly and frequently by the media, and all the very unusual efforts made the Park to extinguish this unique fire, caused me to remember everyone in our fire behavior course standing up to introduce themselves at the beginning of the class. One Park Service employee gave a fairly routine account of his fire career and qualifications, then brought the house down when he ended with "and I am the world's foremost authority on sloth dung fires."

The book conveys the feeling of being in fire management at about the time natural resource agencies began to shift gears from the "10 am policy" of total suppression, or fire control as it was called then, towards fire management. The fire organizations were looked at as an anachronism by management and employees in other resource functions in that time. A time when we began the extremely difficult task of putting together policy and procedures in response to what science had been telling us for two or three decades, that is return fire to a more natural role in fire dependent ecosystems or face a crisis by the end of the century. Many long time fire control people did not agree, however, some old fire dogs that began their careers in the 1940's and 1950's, who without any formal education had come to the same conclusions as the science did. "Fire on the Rim" also relates the widespread view of "ground pounders" of then and now, that we all too often accomplish our jobs in spite of management rather than because of them.

The National Park Service, who Mr. Pyne was working for, was more progressive in their views of fire management during the 60's and 70's, which caused many of us in the Forest Service to believe that their "on the ground management" was more progressive as well. Mr. Pyne dispels any rumors that our perspective was accurate. As the events of the rest of the 1970's and the decades since then unfolded, we had to suffer the frustration of the public and politicians extreme reluctance or opposition to let us do what had to be done to avert a building crisis. It did come, as evidenced by current events, resulting in fire management organizations becoming more critical than they have ever been. However, for many of us beginning our careers in the late 60's and early 70's the shift did not come soon enough and the difficulties of keeping up our morale each and every day were challenging. This is the main theme conveyed in "Fire on the Rim" in my opinion, and in doing so Stephen Pyne captured the thoughts, emotions, and coping mechanisms many of us had during those times. For anyone who worked in fire management during those times this is a must read. Fred Richter, "Retired Ranger" Mammoth Lakes, California

Fire Line: The Summer Battles of the West
One of Mellie's favorites: She says, "Great photos, terrific information, lyrically written history of firefighting including chapters on the early years, groundpounders, hotshots, smokejumpers, air tankers, helicopters, sisterhood and management teams. Very well done!"

If you need a book to give someone to explain what you do or enlighten them on the world of wildland firefighting, this is THE book. Excellent from cover to cover. JG

This is a very good book loan or give as a gift to your Doctor, lawyer, risk manager or your office staff. Fire Line will help them understand what it is you do and why you do it. Five Chain Saws. Hunter

Another book I recommend to people looking to work in wildland fire. Great photography and the author did his homework when researching the book. It is a very good description of wildland firefighters. I wound up using it to help answer some of my parents questions about what my job was. 4 Chainsaws. FedFire

Firelines: A Memoir of Wildlands Fire Fighting Be the first to rate this book!
Firestorm at Peshtigo
A story of the lumbering town -- sawmills, sawdust streets, and lumberjacks -- of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, fire of 1871, in which as many as 2,500 people may have died in less than an hour. Several forest fires created tornado force winds and just burned everything up. Because this fire occurred on the same day as the Chicago fire and because there were so few survivors, it has been overlooked. Chilling, sometimes graphic story of a catastrophic fire. Todd

From Fuels Guy, a less than stellar review:
If you have any reasonable level of wildland fire experience this book will drive you nuts. Some examples:

  • Page 109; "known as fall streaks or virga, are the graceful shafts of dry lightning preceding a storm." While virga, (rainfall) may be a sponsor of lightning (electricity), virga and lightning are two different elements of a T- Storm. Cheeez.
  • Page 113; has a 1/2-sentence mention of humidity. The Index does not list humidity; I believe humidity is mentioned only minimally once or twice elsewhere. Failure to understand the extreme importance of humidity in wildland fire behavior is quite telling.
  • Also page 113; Not recognizing that the "great round balls," "black balls" coming down from the clouds described by survivors in "Chicago, Peshtigo, Menekaune, and Williamsonville" are obviously thunderstorm downbursts, which offer the most reliable explanation of the fire's most extreme effects, especially in view of the lack of witness accounts of tornados. This TORNADOS caused the fire behavior obsession seems to have clouded the author's objectivity.

Numerous instances of small towns listed that are not shown on one of the three maps.

The book does set the table well for the characters, and you do feel heartfelt sympathy for the people that are allowed to come to life. I was longing for more words of those that were there, not another tornado analysis. 2 chain saws!

Firestorm! Story of the 1991 East Bay Fire in Berkeley Be the first to rate this book!
Ghosts of the Fireground
As with all of Peter Leschak's books, this is another great read that skillfully weaves between the great Peshtigo Fire (described above) and Leschaks' own experiences. He exemplifies the "warrior spirit" of Reverend Pernin and of himself in the pure element of fighting fire set aside all the B.S. I give this book 5 saws. "Crash"
Hellroaring: The Life & Times of a Fire Bum
Ran across this book in a used book store. It was one heck of a find. Peter Leschak did a great job of outlining what it takes to go from volunteer/AD firefighter to a Gov't paid working bum. I found that I could relate to a lot of the stories and chuckled time after time thinking of situations I have been in that have been very similar. I recommend reading! 3.5 saws Paddlefire
Hotshot
This is sort of a memoir of a hotshot. I found this book annoying and enjoyable at the same time. I identified with many of the situations but the “Hotshot attitude” comes through very strongly. This is another book on my recommended reading list for those seeking work in wildland fire. 3 Chainsaws. FedFire

This book is truly full of "Hotshot" attitude, one which is truly earned. I worked 12 years as a Hotshot in R-5. This is a must read for anyone who has ever worked shots or is considering becoming a "necessary evil" in the fire world. Rachel

I'll Never Fight Fire With My Bare Hands Again
Took me a while to get through this book. Its definitely not one of those you have a hard time putting down, but it was definitely interesting if you enjoy reading about the life and times of the first "rangers" in the inland northwest. Book is mostly excerpts from journals or writings of the rangers of the times (1905 - ~1915) Some good stories from the 1910 fires (but I have read them other places too) ..final rating..3 saws Pulaski
Inferno! The Devastating Firestorms of October 1993 Be the first to rate this book!
Making the Bear Dance
This is a narrative tale of a fire service career by one of the "Militia", not a full time firefighter but a resource biologist that loved fighting wildfires on the side. The stories are colorful and engaging. The chapter on the 1987 Happy Camp Fire on the Klamath sounded very familiar to my experiences in that country. Overall, lightweight but a pleasant read. 4 Saws. FC180
Memorable Forest Fires: 200 Stories by U.S. Forest Service Retirees
I loved this book! A collection of short stories and recollections from the first "rangers" of the US Forest Service up until the late 70's or so. There are some great belly laughs as well as a few tear jerking moments. A great book to take along for those "hurry up and wait" times. Probably shouldn't quite be on the same shelf with the "must read" books, but it's close. JG

I loved this book, too. Some wonderful historical "tid bits" - like when the first fire teams were put together - as well as some durn good tales. Pranks and laughter, hardships, long hikes, poor dispatch resources, resourcefulness, mostly stories of the west, but that's where most of the forests are. Made me realize again where our current firefighting system came from and what fine people helped develop it along the way. Todd
Monster Fire at Minong: Wisconsin's Five Mile Tower Fire of 1977 Be the first to rate this book!
No Grass
Ken and I just finished the book No Grass by Shawna Legarza (Legs). It was a good book: it was said sad and funny at the same time. Shawna writes about growing up on a ranch, about fire and about her husband. We are recommending it to all. Ken and Kathy Brinkley

I loved every page. Legs, thanks for the answers to all the hard questions. See you out there soon I hope... Arlo

I just finished Legs' book. After the first chapter, I had to trade a firefighter for a packet of cheese spread out of his MRE... Growing up on a ranch is hard work. Ranch kids call it their life; chores and values, life and death, making do: they don't know any different. Challenges abound. Nothing goes to waste. It's adapt and overcome on a daily and seasonal basis, like wildland firefighting. Thanks Legs for sharing your early life and your later life. We all miss Marc; he was an inspiration in life. Legs and Marc. Thanks for sharing some of the answers to questions we had about his suicide, and thanks for doing what you're doing now -- the Wildland Firefighters Life Challenge Program -- with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Only by asking the hard questions and seeking to understand the lessons learned can we foster and strengthen resiliency. Excellent read. Five Saws! Ab.

A very candid story of what really goes on in a firefighter's life minus the sensationalism. Legarza was brutally honest about her life and its realities and how important it is to survival to maintain a good attitude, live well, be strong and value what you have in the moment. I'm heartbroken for her loss but appreciate her bravery in sharing it. Five Saws. -Dozershot

For those of you who have not read Shawna Legarza's new book "No Grass" about growing up on a ranch in Elko, fighting fire in AK, becoming the superintendant of the San Juan Hot Shots out of Durango, and working on the pile at the WTC, I recommend it highly. A great read, inspiring. Hugh Carson

On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters & ZERO chainsaws
Matthew Desmond, the author, is a Sociology student at the University of Wisconsin and was a member of the USFS Elk River Fire Crew for 4 seasons. Matt's book is a very good explanation of who we are and why we are the people we are. Matt talks about the cultural challenges that are facing the USFS as well as FDs all over. I feel this is excellent reading for those in supervisor positions and those that are planning to move up in the Fire world. It's not a book full of "War Stories" (it does have some) and it does help explain many of the reasons we have some of the pitfalls we constantly complain about in our fire world. I rate it 4 chainsaws on the chainsaw scale. danfromord

On the subject of why wildland firefighters love their work, this is the most useless book I have read. To be a four season hotshot, on a crew in Northern Arizona, and believe that interviewing this crew qualifies you to draw valid conclusions about the thousands of wildland firefighters in the United States is somewhat the height of arrogance. I am 80 years old, fought my first wildland fire when I was sixteen, retired after thirty five years, and continued to do fire reviews for fourteen years after retirement. Most of my life has been involved with wildland firefighters, and still is. During all that time I have asked myself why I loved this job so much, without ever getting an answer, and this book sure didn't answer it. If it had been called something like a study of fourteen hotshots in Arizona, I might have been able to give it a fair review. As it is, I can only give it zero chainsaws. W. G. Todd

People, Fire, and Forests: A Synthesis of Wildfire Social Science Be the first to rate this book!
The Fires of Autumn: The Cloquet-Moose Lake Disaster of 1918 Be the first to rate this book!
Scorched Earth: How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America
It is a well written book, goes into the history of wildfire suppression and developing policy from the start of putting out fires in Yellowstone when the army first arrived in the late 1800's. Most, if not all, of the early people who help shape fire suppression policy and those who believed in letting fires burn are discussed in this book. I worked at Old Faithful in the summers from 1986 though 1989 and also spent 2 winters at the Snowlodge, The hippies on the bus that Rocky mentions in the prologue - I knew most of them - I spent most of the fire storm on the boardwalk by the inn and stayed the night at the inn after the cabin I was living in burned. The book let me lay to rest some bad memories. The is a minor bias toward environmentalism, but it is a great read for both fire and non-fire folks: after all fire is neither good nor evil. FIRE -- it just is. 4 chainsaws. Radar
Smokechaser
I recommend it. Pulaski

The book is a cohesive collection of personal true stories told from the perspective of a 16-year-old kid who went to work as a lookout on the Clearwater NF in 1945. The book is easy and engaging reading and interesting as regards the lifestyle and the problems he had to troubleshoot. He thought nothing of a 7 mi hike into an area where he fought a lightning fire alone... and tells of having to go out to repair downed telephone lines almost routinely and his trepidation in climbing the skinny poles. He describes what he cooked with limited supplies and how he improvised with ice cream. One of his stories describes the mental and practical tasks his supervisors let him figure out - how to single-handedly get a new woodstove up the stairs of the lookout. Self reliance... Some very captivating tales. Five chainsaws. Tahoe Terrie

This a great book to read to understand how it used to be. Where did the water come from, how did you make your own bread? What happens when a porcupine finds the dough. How skipping lunch can get you hired. Well worth reading and you will not want to put the book down until you get to the last page. R5 Dispatcher

The Hinckley Fire: Stories from the Hinckley Fire Survivors (of 1894)
This book -- that appears to be out of print (1953, last printing, 1994 centennial) -- tells the amazing first-hand stories of the September 1, 1894 (4 PM) cyclone-like firestorm that consumed the Minnesota towns of Hinckley, Mission Creek, Brook Park, Sandstone and Partridge as well as outlaying farms and railroad trains, bridges and tracks inbetween. The fire displaced 1,582 people who were maintained by cities like Duluth, located 80 miles away. More than 500 inhabitants of this thick pine region are thought to have died. This book is a collection of stories that show the resourcefulness and tenacity of the human spirit, the grit of townspeople, settlers, lumbermen and train men and the generosity of Minnesotans and others that took in the survivors. If you can find a copy, it's very much worth the read. Mellie
The Great Peshtigo Fire: An Eyewitness Account
After visiting the Peshtigo Museum and spending the day reviewing documents, this is a most interesting book.
I do plan to spend additional time visiting the town and reviewing the facts. I highly recommend this book for anyone in the Wildfire Service as this may have been the first Urban –Interface incident. Dan Collins Sr.
The Monster Reared His Ugly Head, the Story of the Rodeo-Chediski Fire
I was a firefighter in June, 2002 on the Rodeo-Chediski Fire that burned in monster proportions near Show Low, Arizona (AZ White Mountains). At the time Jim Paxon who was the PIO (and had many years of firefighting under his belt) did a very fine job of briefing and educating the public and the media on everything from what the objectives were, how the fire was behaving, what tactics were being used as the conditions changed. He was fire's best spokesman I've ever had the pleasure to observe. This book reflects his expertise. It tracks that fire from fire behavior to how firefighters approach fighting fire under different conditions. It has awesome photos. This is a fine book, interesting and good to thumb through again and again after you've finished reading it. 5 saws! roadrunner

As a Fire Captain from Ca-OES Strike Team 1810-A who was assigned to the Bison Ranch and Heber-Overguard areas, I fought some of the toughest, hottest, fire in the 30 + years of my fire service career. Jim's book brings you right there to the front lines. It is well written and captures a piece of Arizona's contemporary fire history. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the multiple challenges faced in managing an incident of this magnitude. Definitely rate as 5 brushooks! wrongway

The Seasons of Fire
I found this book in my campus book store under the philosophy category. Mr. Strohmaier, a 15 year veteran of the firelines, has very interesting ideas on why we, as the guardians of the wilderness, continue to punish ourselves year after year. This is a good read for both the firefighter and the family member. Maybe you can actually justify that new set of Nicks, Whites or Wescos to your significant other after letting them read a few chapters. Tiny formerly the R6 fire pup, now dog.

This book is a celebration of fire, a philosophical treatise on fire through the seasons, an exploration of what fire means in our lives. A must read. Five Saws. NorCal Tom

Trials by Wildfire: In Search of the New Warrior Spirit
Peter Leschak, veteran wildland firefighter and helitack crew leader, explores the warrior spirit, emphasizing personal integrity,  patience, responsibility, commitment, and courage. It is thoughtful, down-to-earth, ironic, insightful, and an invitation to delve into existential meaning - living life while facing death. NorCal Tom
Under a Flaming Sky: The Great Hinckley Firestorm of 1894 Be the first to rate this book!
Wildfire Loose: The Week Maine Burned
History Buffs pay attention to this one! Fact by fact recounts of fires in southern, central, and down east Maine make this work somewhat patience-testing to read. If you are interested in the history of Maine and its wildland fires, this book is a great source of information. If you're looking for entertainment...bump by. 2 saws Paddlefire
Year of the Fires:  The Story of the Great Fires of 1910
Stephen Pyne identifies three separate political camps with respect to the controversy over fire management policy at the turn of the century. The first group he refers to as the "Let it burn" group or individuals and institutions seeking to keep the status quo. The second group were the "Light Burners". These were proponents of a fire management policy which incorporated the use of controlled burns as a way of mimicking the natural occurrence of fire in land management. The third group Pyne refers to as the "No Burn" group. This group which included powerful political figures such as Gifford Pinchot and Henry Graves eventually would dominate the political landscape in terms of fire management in the forests of the country for the next 85 years.

This was an excellent account of the early politics leading to present day fire management policy. Politics swing as a pendulum from left to right. With the exception of certain infrequent catastrophic events, mother nature operates in a much more subtle manner than political events. Combining politics with good fire management will never be a good mix. Let us learn from the lessons of the past. In a quote by George Santayana in 1905, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." we are reminded that we should always keep an open mind towards learning.

5 saws for historical value, 3 saws for an easy read, avg it to 4 saws if you like. -Cap'n Kirk

Wall of Flame: The Heroic Battle to Save Southern California Unrated as to saws.

A good perspective from the front line, but limited in the other large wild fires/fire fighting operations in Southern California during October 2003 (outside of front country of the San Bernardino/San Gabriel mountains).

I was the Incident Meteorologist on the Grand Prix fire from the morning of October 22 through November 4, 2003, I disagree with the stated strength of the Santa Ana winds early Friday morning, October 24, 2003 and that they were forecast 12 hours too late. The actual weather forecasts, warnings, and observed weather are archived and available for review. Rob

Young Men and Fire
Author jumps around a fair amount which makes it hard to follow in parts, but overall another excellent book on a historic wildfire fatality incident. Five chainsaws. JG

This book left me very disturbed, but is a "must read" book however. When I understood that the author was not a firefighter, then I understood his perspective. If you plan to read Fire on the Mountain you should read Young Men and Fire first. Four Chain Saws. Hunter

"Young Men and Fire" is a superb, layer-by-layer dissection of the causes and consequences of the 1949 wildfire disaster in Mann Gulch, Montana. Author Norman McLean -- "A River Ran Through It" -- spent a great part of his later life meticulously exploring this disastrous blowup that snatched the lives of 13 jumpers. The Forest Service was said to have learned much and significantly changed procedures after the Mann Gulch fire. Maybe. After this book, read "Fire on the Mountain" by the author's son, John N. Maclean, about the 1994 South Canyon Colorado fire that took 15 jumpers. 45 years after Mann Gulch virtually the same conditions -- fire, fuel, geographic slope and wind led to the same disastrous result. RT

This book investigates the deaths of 13 firefighters on the 1949 Mann Gulch fire which had a large impact on the way wildland fires are fought. The book is written in an unusual style and is almost the same story written 3 times from different perspectives, from the point of the author who lived in the area during the fire, from the point of view of the author as an investigator many years later and finally written from the firefighters point of view (based on the investigation and from survivors interviews). This style did not bother me and I found the book very interesting but I know many who found it unreadable. 3 Chainsaws. FedFire



Reference/Environment/Lookouts
After the Fires Be the first to rate this book!
America's Fires: Management on Wildlands and Forests (Forest History Society Issues Series) Be the first to rate this book!
Blazing Heritage: A History of Wildland Fire in the National Parks Be the first to rate this book!
Burning Bush: A Fire History of Australia
Part of Pyne's Cycle of Fire series (including also Fire: A Brief History; Vestal Fire; World Fire) that tells the environmental history of fire and humanity's development and use of fire technology, this time in Australia. Not light reading but very good. Cheryl
Burning Questions: America's Fight with Nature's Fire Be the first to rate this book!
Cerro Grande Canyons of Fire, Spirit of Community Be the first to rate this book!
Climbing the Ladder Less Traveled
A good read for the Arizona, Mogollon rim lookouts, five chainsaws from someone who worked four of these lookouts. BP
Chemicals for Forest Fire Fighting Be the first to rate this book!
Community Bushfire Safety Be the first to rate this book!
Drift Smoke Be the first to rate this book!
Encyclopedia of Fire Be the first to rate this book!
Fire: A Force of Nature, The Story Behind the Scenery Be the first to rate this book!
Fire and Civilization Be the first to rate this book!
Fire, Chaparral, And Survival In Southern California
This book is informative with lots of good information. Halsey covers just about all aspects of trying to manage chaparral ecosystems. I believe he was targeting homeowners, there is a lot of information on defensible space, veg management around structures, and what to do for recovery after the fire. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the ecological processes at work before during and after brush fires. 4 saws. Forester

While not necessarily written for the wildland firefighter, this is an excellent book for those interested in the natural history of the Southern California chaparral and the critical part that fire plays in maintaining a healthy chaparral ecosystem. Halsey has done his research well. I only say 4 saws because the material is not geared for all wildland firefighters. NorCal Tom

Fire and Vegetation Dynamics: Studies from the North American Boreal Forest Be the first to rate this book!
Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests Be the first to rate this book!
Fire Ecology: United States and Southern Canada
A must for any serious student of prescribed fire. Tough sledding in some parts, it is primarily a reference/text. BIZ
Fire Effects on Ecosystems Be the first to rate this book!
Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire
GREAT REFERENCE AND HISTORICAL BOOK!!! A "must have for your library" for anyone and everyone in fire management. If you're from the west and your fire assignment takes you to "East of the Mississippi", or vise versa, a great book to to look up the area your going to and get a "feel" for the fuels and fire behavior". Nothing is as good as having a "local" person there with you, but this book is a good a back-up. If your like me and love wildland fire history, this book gives a fairly in depth historical look as to how it was and how it was done. I feel that anyone who wants to succeed in wildland fire management, should get themselves a copy of this book and read it cover to cover a couple of times. I give this book 5 chain saws. AZ trailblazer

Good book from Pyne describing the cultural effect of wildland fire, this time in America. For others in the series telling the history of fire, see Fire: A Brief History; Burning Bush; World Fire; Vestal Fire. Cheryl
Fire in California's Ecosystems  
A very good book for those interested in more than just suppression. This will probably be one of the textbooks folks have to use to get their 401's. Pricey. TC

Used in Rx-310 (Rx-340) at WFTC. Good book for the fire environments in California. SR

Fire in Ecosystems of Boreal Eurasia (Forestry Sciences, Vol 48) Be the first to rate this book!
Fire in Paradise: The Yellowstone Fires, etc Be the first to rate this book!
Fire in the Hills: A Collective Remembrance Be the first to rate this book!
Fire Lookout Hikes in the Canadian Rockies

Interesting history, great photos and maps. Useful book if you like to hike to lookouts, but interesting otherwise. AL

Fire Lookouts of Oregon & Washington
Well, I used this book to look into the history and information available for the Goldbug (I think that was it, on the Willamette NF, Detroit RD) Lookout. A small wooden Lookout with a road almost all the way to it. Directions were good, although renovation was just beginning the summer I visited it. This book was useful. 4 saws Paddlefire
Fire Lookouts of the Northwest
While this is a must have book for anyone interested in Lookouts of the Northwest it has just enough misinformation to make one wonder about the validity of the Info. One example is the story about a child falling from Frazier LO in Eastern Oregon. Never happened. Still a heck of a job collecting all this info. 4 Chainsaws "Z"

Very interesting book on PNW lookouts, clearly written by a wildland firefighter. Cheryl

Fire, Native Peoples, and the Natural Landscape Be the first to rate this book!
Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore Be the first to rate this book!
Flames in our Forest: Disaster or Renewal
Steve Arno is one of America's premier fire scientists. A solid professional with a knack for writing about technical things in layman's terms, Arno's book is 180 pages of succinct, highly readable, very accurate writing about this critical issue. What is happening with fire in America today? Why does it matter? What do we know? What have we learned? What can we do about it? If you don't read another book about fire, this is the one. Arno's followup, Mimicking Nature's Fire, is an outstanding primer on prescribed fire. I can't wait for Steve's next effort. This is the kind of science that anyone can understand and his conclusions that fire is both necessary and out of balance are compelling, as are his recommendations for where we go from here. To continue to suffer fires like the recent Tahoe disaster, human-caused in every way, with a book like this already showing us the way to more responsible living in the fire environment is just criminal malpractice on the part of citizens and angencies who continue to ignore the truths that Arno so clearly sees. Read this book and then buy a copy for your Senator. Five Stars. Frank Carroll, Custer, SD
Forest Fire Management (Fire in Forestry; Vol 2) Be the first to rate this book!
Forest Fires: An Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior,
Management, Firefighting, and Prevention
Be the first to rate this book!
Forest Fires: Behavior and Ecological Effects Be the first to rate this book!
Forests Under Fire Be the first to rate this book!
From York to the Allagash, Forest Fire Lookouts of Maine Be the first to rate this book!
Go Tell It on the Mountain If accessibility is any predictor, this should be good! It's always checked out of the library! AL
Guardian of the Forest: A History of Smokey Bear etc Be the first to rate this book!
Hiking North Carolina's Lookout Towers Be the first to rate this book!
How to Rent a Fire Lookout in the Pacific Northwest
This is a great reference book if you're into renting a lookout (or a cabin or guard station for that matter) or even if you just like to explore Oregon off the beaten track. Most locations are Oregon, only 8 from Washington, but it tells you how to get to each spot and how much each place costs ($25-$40 per night). Cheryl
In Fire's Way: A Practical Guide to Life in the Wildfire Danger Zone Be the first to rate this book!
Indians, Fire, and the Land in the Pacific Northwest Be the first to rate this book!

Investigation of Wildfires

Be the first to rate this book!

Investigation of Vegetation Fires

Be the first to rate this book!

Jack Ward Thomas: The Journals of a Forest Service Chief


While this is not specifically a Fire Book, it is related somewhat. Also talks about Storm King and other tragedies from Chief's perspective. Explained a lot to me about the politics of why things happen in the Forest Service the way they do. All in all a very good book. I'd rate it 4 saws. TC

For those of us who lived through the strife and conflict of the 1990's inside the United States Forest Service, or outside looking in, these journals are a rare epiphany that remind us that hope lives in darkness.

Jack Ward Thomas, the first politically appointed Chief since the first Chief, Gifford Pinchot (a Teddy Roosevelt appointee in 1905) takes us on his very personal journey as he grows from wildlife biologist to agency statesman in a few short years. Along the way he stumbles and wanders, siezes triumph and faces tragedy, and crosses the finish line with grace and understanding.

The politics of natural resource and environmental policy are often ugly, frustrating, arcane. Thomas' lights a candle with often astonishing revelations about people - he names names - that can be highly entertaining and insightful. With humor and pathos he deconstructs the key events of the age and explains his rationale for highly controversial decisions clearly and in real time.

Thomas was a career scientist whose identity and loyalty was to his profession before events in the Clinton White House landed him on the fourth floor in the corner office in the old Auditor's Building on the Mall in Washington, just a few hundred yards from the Washington Monument, in the seat of Forest Service power. His grasp of the breadth and depth of what he would come to correctly identify as the sacred calling of being Chief was slight, but his willingness to tell the story of his transformation was strong and this he did honestly, openly, and often delightfully.

Did he do everything right? Hardly. But neither was he deserving of condemnation. If anything he stepped up to the plate in the face of far worse alternatives and tried to do the right thing, acknowledging his own innocence and failures, coming of age and successes, and in the event creating a personal and agency political history that is both very well written and very compelling.

Expect to be up in the wee hours of the night when you open this book. These journals are a must read for anyone who hopes to understand the politics of the environment being played out right now and for serious and casual students of government policy in public land management. Frank Carroll, Custer, SD

Living with Wildfires: Prevention, Preparation and Recovery


This book is based on common sense, experience, and science—it is written for the purpose of reducing risks to homes by making them and the landscape around them more survivable when a wildfire does pass through.... Living with Wildfire is as much a basic primer for homeowners as it is a guide to get you on the right track to becoming a member of a “Firewise Community.” It is full of information that when followed can lessen the risk of losing your home to wildfire. Five chainsaws. Mike Apicello, PAO for NIFC & former smokejumper

A very fine and comprehensive book by Janet Arrowood that deals with preparing for wildfire on the interface and preparing your family. In addition to providing first hand stories from the Hayman Fire of 2002, Janet goes through every consideration homeowners should address from insurance coverage, to designing your space, to preparation with children and pets, to evacuation. Included are a glossary of terms, websites (webliography), and a bibliography. Besides detailing how to create a firewise space and get insured, I think the most valuable part of Janet's book is the checklist for evacuation and the thought she's put into insuring safety of your family (and pets).

This summer of 2003 with the low ERCs, drought and beetle killed forests, and high density WUI residences, more people than ever are at risk from catastrophic fire. Firefighters everywhere should be recommending this book to those living on the WUI. Firefighters, you should read it yourself if you live in the woods. I give it Five Chainsaws! Mellie
Lookouts: Firewatchers of the Cascades and Olympics Be the first to rate this book!
Managing the Unexpected Be the first to rate this book!
Mimicking Nature's Fire
The highly readable sequel to Steve Arno's Flames in Our Forest, this is a practical how-to guide that also informs and predicts outcomes for fire's continuing reintroduction into America's wild lands, ready or not. If the citizens and agencies now blaming each other for the debacle at Lake Tahoe had read this book when it came out last year, lots of houses now burned to the ground would still be standing. With over 30 years experience as one of America's top fire scientists, Arno is especially suited to the role of prophet and we should listen and learn. Arno is a writer who makes technical things easy to understand and who is not shy about giving the reader the benefit of the doubt, and teaching hard lessons with courage and candor. Anyone fighting or lighting fire in America today should have a dog-eared copy of this book on the seat of the pick-up. Arno's conclusion that we must figure out how to reintroduce fire where we have suppressed fire for so long, either as actual prescribed fire or as mechanical thinning, logging, and fuel reduction, is absolutely correct. Lake Tahoe just demonstrated the pointlessness of continuing to deny that fire is not going away and that only people can make forests and communities survivable. Read this book and then go do what it says in your own back yard.

Five stars. Among the best of the current crop of books written to drag us into reality and show us how to get out of the mess we're in. Frank Carroll, Custer, SD

Montana on Fire, Summer of 2000 Be the first to rate this book!
Natural and Prescribed Fire in Pacific Northwest Forests or half-a-chainsaw!?
I can not admit to reading this book from cover to cover, but I have had it for about 10 years and have found it to be an excellent reference source. It covers fire history/ecology, applications, effects and other subjects of interest to the planner and practitioner. The Rx fire effects articles are extensive, covering everything from slime-molds to the upper atmosphere. I have used it mostly as reference for input into environmental analysis, LSR plans, watershed analysis and even WFSA development. I would highly recommend it to anyone involved in lower to upper division fire/fuels planning and especially to novice IDT members. As a "fire camp" book I rate it 1/2 chainsaw; as a reference book of prescribed fire knowledge I rate it 5 chainsaws. DM
Operation Pet Rescue: Animal Survivors of the Oakland, California, Firestorm Be the first to rate this book!
Red Skies of 88 Be the first to rate this book!
Santa Barbara Wildfires
This book is a fairly comprehensive narrative of all the major wildfires on the Santa Barbara Front Country in modern times. It is written by a journalist, so there are not a lot of technical details, but it is full of descriptions of the fires and their behavior and personal stories. I have used it as a reference each time I have been assigned to a fire on the Santa Barbara Front, mostly because most of the fires behave in a similar manner. Needs a better map but it kind of gives you an idea of the extent of each fire. Recommended, especially if you live or work in the central coast or are prone to respond to this area. 4 saws. FC180
Sifting Through Ashes : Lessons learned from the Painted Cave Fire 1990 Be the first to rate this book!
Smoke Exposure at Western Wildfires Be the first to rate this book!
Smokechasing Be the first to rate this book!
Smokey Bear 20252: A Biography Be the first to rate this book!
The Still-Burning Bush Be the first to rate this book!
Structure Protection in the I-Zone Be the first to rate this book!
Sugar Loaf’s Black Tiger Fire Be the first to rate this book!
Tending Fire, Coping with America's Wildland Fires

Thought-provoking and entertaining book tracing the history of wildland fire policy keeping in mind the backdrop of the SoCal 2003 firestorm. Pyne has taken his wealth of fire knowledge and put it into this book that starts with the history of fire around the world, lays out the pros and cons of policies of recent years and the options he thinks are available for fire management policy today and for the future. Beth

The Bear Guardian Be the first to rate this book!
The Economics of Bushfires: The South Australian Experience Be the first to rate this book!
The Ecology of Fire (Cambridge Studies in Ecology)
Required for my fire ecology class. Very useful in understanding the field of fire ecology: talks about ecological principals like how fires in the ecosystem affect plants and animals individually, as well as how fire affects plant and animal communities and populations, for example its effects on interactions between plant and plant-eating animal and predator-prey interactions. Examples from various places around the world. DG
The Fires of  '88: Yellowstone Park and Montana in Flames Be the first to rate this book!
The Great Black Dragon Fire
The Great Black Dragon Fire, A Chinese Inferno by Harrison Salisbury tells the story of the catastrophic stand-replacement fire in 1987 in Manchuria (western China between Korea and Russia). It devastated 3 million acres of climax larch forest - 1/3 of China's timber reserve and left black stumps for hundreds of miles. (Fire on the Russian side of the Black Dragon River consumed 15 million acres!) All together, the fire was 4-5 times the size of New England and 12 times the size of the Yellowstone fire! FYI, Chinese larch is a deciduous conifer resembling spruce. That part of Asia had a climax forest of these trees that were 150-200 yr old, 100'tall, 40"dbh! The story has interesting statistics but is mostly personal accounts of heroism and foresight based on interviews of survivors, firefighters, and forestry specialists. It's not boring at all! Salisbury, a specialist on China, visited, interviewed, walked and helicoptered over much of the fire area. While not a firefighter, he offers a great perspective on a relatively unknown part of the world. Good book, 5 chainsaws. Cheryl
The Tillamook Be the first to rate this book!
The Tinderbox: How Politically Correct Ideology Destroyed the U.S. Forest Service
I and others assisted Chris Burchfield with documentation and interviews for his new book "The Tinder Box" which has been out a few months. This book is excellent. It covers all aspects of the Consent Decree and how the Forest Service used and abused its own employees in implementing it. It is a perfect in depth summary and a TRUE and factual history of the Consent Decree! The names of some of the reviewers on amazon should be familiar to a lot of you! 5 chainsaws. Bob Grate
Vestal Fire
Another one of Pyne's Cycle of Fire series (including also Fire: A Brief History; Fire in America; Burning Bush; World Fire) that tells the environmental history of fire and humanity's development and use of fire technology in Europe which he organizes according to region. Good writing, lots of information, but not a narrative. Four saws. Cheryl
Views from on High: Fire Tower Trails in the Adirondacks and Catskills Be the first to rate this book!
Wildfire Be the first to rate this book!
Wildfire: A Reader
A collection of stories and essays on wildfires by Alianor true a wildland firefighter with the NPS. Includes Native American legends, pioneer stories, excerpts from the journals of Lewis and Clark, wildland firefighter stories and stories by Mark Twain, Washington Irving, John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Edward Abbey, and Norman Maclean. Worth the reading. I give this book 5 chainsaws. R2
Wildfire and Americans: How to Save Lives, Property and Your Tax Dollars
It is a good read. It gives a pretty good history on how we got where we are today dealing with the wildland urban interface. 7107
Wildfires (true Books: Nature) Be the first to rate this book!
World Fire
Part of Pyne's Cycle of Fire series (including also Fire: A Brief History; Burning Bush: AFire History of Australia; Vestal Fire) that tells the environmental history of fire and humanity's development and use of fire technology, basically how fire and humans have coevolved. Cheryl
Wildland Fires and the Law: Legal Aspects of Forest Fires Worldwide Be the first to rate this book!
Wildland Fire in Ecosystems Be the first to rate this book!


Training/Education
Wildland Firefighter
Jobs
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Campbell Prediction System
A practical fire behavior training: This logical system for evaluating changes in fire behavior is a must for firefighters on the ground. Firefighter Hotlist Discussion of CPS  & Hotlist Discussion of Fire Modeling as the "fire behavior training". Ab.
Fire in California's Ecosystems

Used in Rx-310 (Rx-340) at WFTC. Good text book type book for the fire environments in California.

Leadership for the Wildland Fire Officer: Leading in a Dangerous Profession Be the first to rate this book.
Firefighter's Handbook on Wildland Firefighting, 3rd Edition
Definitely not your usual firefighter training manual. Very easy to read and understand. Subject matter flows very well from chapter to chapter. Structural firefighters crossing over to wildland interface will get a lot out of this book. My department has thrown out the 'old "Firefighter" training manual put out by the Feds back in 1986 for this manual. A little on the pricey side, but well worth the $. The cartoons remind me of Allan Brunicini's "Fire Command" Text. I give this book 5 chainsaws. AZ trailblazer

Good reading. AL

Workbook for Firefighter's Handbook on Wildland Firefighting
Good addition to the handbook, if you want to fork over the extra money. AL
Fire Officers Handbook on Wildland Firefighting Be the first to rate this book!
Fundamentals of Wildland Fire Fighting Be the first to rate this book!
Introduction to Fire in California Be the first to rate this book!
Introduction to Wildland Fire
Stephen Pyne is America's most prolific writer on wildland fire and one of those rare academics who spent 12 years fighting fire up close and personal on the fire crew at Grand Canyon National Park. He knows what a pulaski is for, who invented it, and how the new adaptations work. More importantly, he has applied everything he ever learned plus everything his friends ever knew to come up with this magnum opus on wildland fire. This is, without question, the best and most comprehensive book about this compelling subject written in this generation. Pyne is a lucid storyteller who weaves this subject together in a fine tapestry from the beginning of fire's influence on current ecosystems in the wake of the retreating Laurentian Ice Sheet to the Lake Tahoe's of today, fire traps created and maintained by people with no understanding of their circumstances and no willingness to learn from their errors. Pyne's book is the book professional journalists like USA Today's Tom Kenworthy refer to when they want to get it right. For the rest of us, it is the book that covers it all, from tool order to helicopter etiquette, from fire ecology to fire politics. This is really is the great work on wildfire of our time and well worth the considerable cost to acquire and read. I give it five stars even though critics do not like the lack of footnotes. In this case, the writer has already earned his place in the pantheon of great fire academics and footnotes would only interfere with this obviously exhaustive master work. Frank Carroll, Custer SD
Principles of Forest Fire Management
I read this book when I was 15. It has set the tone for my career. There is so much California fire wisdom in this book it is amazing. Ray Clar and Len Chatten were long time CDF rangers and have the experience to back it up. Its qualitative descriptions of fire behavior have yet to be improved upon in my opinion. The description of the fire organization, although outdated now by FIRESCOPE and NIMS, still present the basic function and interdependence of the fire organization and the importance of the military-like discipline needed in organizing a large fire. One passage bears quoting. In reference to fire behavior knowledge and experience, Clar and Chatten recall, “that day the young fellow easily reached the observation point near the old ranger arrived. There before him was a rolling inferno of flames such as he had never before seen. Fascinated and frightened he told himself that all the power of man could never stop this fire. The old ranger wheezed up, rolled himself a cigarette and mumbled to himself, 'the head will run into the old burn in half an hour and by sundown the wind will die and we’ll cold trail her'. Then he turned to the messenger and said, 'Joe, go phone headquarters and tell them the fire is under control'” 5 saws Tim Chavez
Mapping Wildfire Hazards and Risks Be the first to rate this book!
Remote Sensing of Large Wildfires Be the first to rate this book!
Wildland Firefighting Practices
I had a chance to become one of many technical editors for this book. You'll find my name in with the rest of the technical reviewers. Initially Joe's book had a definite California flare, especially with terminology and resources. My problem with the book was, that if this book was going to be distributed nationwide, the California thing had to be toned WAY down. I just received my complementary copy of the final product a few months ago, so needless to say, not too many folks out there may have a copy of this manual. Not the "first" text I would give to my green firefighters on their first season, but one that would do nicely as a reference book in your library. 3 chainsaws. AZ trailblazer

I use this book all the time and would rate it at least 4 saws, maybe a 4 and a half! Todd

Wildland Firefighting: Fire Behavior, Tactics and Command Be the first to rate this book!
Wildland Fire Apparatus, 1940-2001 Be the first to rate this book!
Wildland Fire Danger Estimation and Mapping Be the first to rate this book!
Wildland Fires and Fire Management Be the first to rate this book!
Brush Rigs Be the first to rate this book!
Yellowstone’s Rebirth by Fire Be the first to rate this book!


Fiction
After the Fire: A Novel
Excellent book, interesting psychological read, authentic firefighter issues and lifestyle, written by a hotshot supt Daniel Robinson. Not a rip-roaring action thriller, but a thoughtful and insightful story. Robinson takes you inside the head of a crew supt Barnes who has lost most of his crew in a burnover, is struggling to understand what happened, and relives the fire over and over in his mind as he sorts it out. Neighbors little Grace, her mom and grandfather, a Vietnam vet, provide grounding for Barnes and their friendship helps him begin to work free of the ghosts that haunt him. Mellie
Devil in the North Woods Be the first to rate this book!
Fire
It's strange that how much things change, the basics stay the same. Bottom line, the Red Dragon is always ultimately conquered by hand crews. Fire by George Stewart in 1948 is about a fictional inaccessible fire in the "Ponderosa" NF in Northern California. As you read the book it doesn't really feel like you are taken back 63 years and fighting a difficult fire. It feels like you're on an inaccessible fire today and conditions don't allow air support. I highly recommend it. Smokey307

Right on! I've read it several times. coopch30

Firestorm in Paradise Be the first to rate this book!
Rain of Fire Be the first to rate this book!
Summer of Fire
"Summer of Fire". It was excellent. I just wish there were actual fire maps in the book noting the advance of the fire. Yes, statistics are in there, but maps would let those of us that have never been to Yellowstone see the progress. So if anyone is interested in buying it, it's worth the few dollars. Linda Jacobs is an excellent writer, especially for never being a firefighter herself. Excellent research. PJ

A very good and satisfying read set against the backdrop and action of the Yellowstone Fires of 1988.Good writing, good research. A couple of times I found myself in a mental After Action Review. 5 Saws Mellie

Linda Jacobs has produced a gripping novel about one of the most electrifying events in the annals of American wildfires - the great Yellowstone fires of 1988. Through her fictional characters, Jacobs has captured the essence of the emotional coaster, high drama, and the outstanding performance of America's finest wildland firefighters. She has done her homework well and the setting is completely accurate. This is a compelling work and I had difficulty putting it down. Bob Barbee - Yellowstone Superintendent, 1983-1988

The Smoke Jumper Be the first to rate this book!

 

Fire Video & DVD

Escape! - Fire In Mann Gulch
(DVD)
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Fire On The Mountain
(DVD)
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Fire Wars

Excellent video on wildland firefighting from the groundpounder to the camp slug, from the "hurry up and wait" to the anxiety surrounding how firefighters are fairing when the fire blows up! If you're new to this you really get educated on what wildland firefighting is all about. If you've done it, you get to see old friends doing what we do every season. Todd

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