Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Flatiron Books (May 3, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #36,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #12 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Civil & Environmental > Fire Science #31 in Books > Science & Math > Earth Sciences > Natural Disasters #53 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Reference > History
This is an insightful story about that ill-fated event. As a seasonal wildland firefighter with over 20 years of experience, I have worked with, and known literally hundreds of young men just like these. They are your neighbor, former classmate, brother, cousin and best friend. Many are college students trying to earn money for school. I remember that day as clear as if it were yesterday. As soon as the news was released, I had friends and family members blowing up my phone trying to find out if I was on the fire and making sure I was ok.Unlike one of the other reviewer's, I didn't read any political agenda in this book. It is a known fact among firefighters that fires are becoming larger and more intense due to a number of factors such as drought, fuel loading and disease. Urban interface has compounded the problem.I will say that as a supervisor, being a seasonal employee for the federal government (USFS- I was a sawyer, engine captain and squad boss) I was only making just over $15 an hour with no benefits other than sickleave and a little bit of vacation time, and that is typical for seasonal employees. When we are injured, unless we can afford our own insurance, our medical bills are paid by Worker's Comp. which is a difficult process. Fortunately for me I am a schoolteacher, so I had my own medical insurance. This book not only puts a real person with the names of the fallen, it points out those gaps in benefits for firefighters. While we are aware of the situation, no one ever believes it can happen to them, and we accept that risk and relatively low pay because we are doing what we love, working outdoors.Santos did a good job of researching and understanding fire behavior and the operations of firefighting .
This spring I went to a conference in Boston called Power of Narrative and got an early copy of THE FIRE LINE: The story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots and one of the deadliest days in American firefighting. I finished the book this week. It’s a fast-moving, vividly written read that transported me to the arid American west, a place where brave men battle wildfires that can turn and kill them. Author Fernanda Santos was working as the Phoenix bureau chief of the New York Times when she read on Twitter that men had died fighting a wildfire. She drove off to learn more, covered the story for the newspaper and wrote this narrative nonfiction book. The first pages of THE FIRE LINE lay out the basic facts of what happened near Yarnell, Arizona on June 30, 2013. A group of elite wilderness firefighters found themselves caught between a fast-moving blaze and a steep mountain that blocked their escape. They resorted to a desperate attempt to save their lives: hiding in tentlike fire shelters that repel heat. The fire was simply too hot - an estimated 2,000 degrees - and 19 men suffered what must have been agonizing deaths. A sequence of errors led the men into this impossible position, but Santos’ narrative spends little time pointing fingers. She writes in the author’s note, “I knew, from early on, that to explain the great loss would lead far beyond assigning blame for the fatalities. In firefighting, decisions are based on probabilities, on the best information at hand, and they’re made quickly, very quickly.” More than a simple explanation of what went wrong, THE FIRE LINE serves as an exploration of the peculiar world the men inhabited.
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