Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910

Front Cover
Viking, 2001 - History - 322 pages
7 Reviews
"1910 was America's millennial year of fire. That summer, American nature and American society collided with tectonic force as western wildfires scorched millions of acres, darkened skies in New England, and deposited soot on the ice of Greenland. Farms, mining camps, and rail towns cracked and burned. A survivor said that the towering flames raged with the sound of a thousand trains rushing over a thousand steel trestles. As one ranger put it, the mountains roared." "Stephen Pyne explains how wildland fires happen and how they are fought, how forests are created then re-created in cycles of burning, and what happens to a landscape when roads, railways, mining camps, logging, and national parks appear. The action distills into a two-day crisis, the Big Blowup of August 20-21, when the fires tripled in size, and focuses in particular on the heroics of Ranger Ed Pulaski, who held his panicked crew at gunpoint in a mine tunnel while the firestorm raged outside." "Pyne brings that year to life through the experiences and words of the rangers, soldiers, politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, and civilians who faced the fires, fought the flames, and were forever scarred by them. It was the first and greatest test of the five-year-old Forest Service. Yet even as seventy-eight fire-fighters perished, a national debate raged about policy, and especially about the relative merits of firefighting versus fire lighting."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910

User Review  - Mathew Powers - Goodreads

This is a pretty good book that places nature and ultimately, fire, as an agent within the story. It is written as a narrative and geared towards a wider audience, but it is still good scholarship. I ... Read full review

Review: Year of the Fires: The Story of the Great Fires of 1910

User Review  - Debbie - Goodreads

I will admit to having a bit of trouble with this book. I was anticipating something other than what I got. It was heavy on Washington politics of the time and light on fire, at least portions of it. I slogged my way through. Read full review



2 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Stephen J. Pyne is a professor at Arizona State University. The author of ten acclaimed books on environmental history, he won the 1995 "Los Angeles Times'" Robert Kirsch Award for his career contribution to arts & letters. He lives in Glendale, Arizona.

Bibliographic information