As wildfires blazed throughout the western United States in the summer of 2000, news organizations from across the country sought the insights of fire expert Stephen J. Pyne. Among the things he told them about were the many parallels between the fires of 2000 and the Great Fires that raged nearly a century ago. Here Pyne tells the whole story of the catastrophic fires of 1910 and the indelible legacy they left behind. The Great Fires scorched millions of acres across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana; they destroyed mining camps and whole towns; their smoke darkened skies in New England; their soot fell on the ice of Greenland. Unlike fires before them, they received a massive and innovative response from the fledgling U.S. Forest Service. Drawing upon fresh archival material, Pyne chronicles that heroic and costly response, focusing on a two-day crisis, the Big Blowup of August 20-21, when the fires tripled in size and officially claimed the lives of seventy-eight firefighters.
Year of the Fires also tells the larger story of how American bureaucracies, railroads, political scandals, pioneering, ideas about nature, and reformist zeal collided with wind, drought, and wood to create the cataclysmic events of 1910, and how these events continue to shape the way Americans relate and react to wildfire. One of the great tales of Americans and their land, this history is an ideal read for fans of western history and of Young Men and Fire, Fire on the Mountain, and Jumping Fire.
About Stephen J. Pyne
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Published May 7, 2001
by Viking Adult.
History, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math.