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

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Viking, 2001 - History - 322 pages
4 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

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User Review  - drmaf - LibraryThing

In August 1910 a sea of fire raged across the Northern Rockies, killing up to 90 people and ravaging millions of acres. This catastrophe is the centrepiece of Pyne's history of the development of fire ... Read full review

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User Review  - DirkHurst - LibraryThing

Written by a former firefighter who served at Grand Canyon. Steven Pyne will make you look at every piece of footage you see of wildfire you see on TV differently. He will make you look at every home ... Read full review



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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.

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