Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Big Burn by Timothy Egan

Every wildland firefighter and every forester or Forest Service employee should be familiar with the history created by Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot. Every wildland firefighter should know who Ed Pulaski is and what he did during the catastrophic fires of 1910.

The Big Burn is a great way to become acquainted with all of these people and with the history of the wildfire fighting program as well as the roots of forestry in the United States. The Big Burn is about Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, the origins of the Forest Service and land conservation, and, of course, the great fires of 1910 (and in that order).

 I have a really hard time getting invested in history books. I'm a little ashamed of that fact, but I'm also proud to say that I finished The Big Burn and I enjoyed it. For someone who expected to read about wildfires, I was disappointed at the intense history and biography portions at the beginning of the book. It was hard to get into, but once I'd trudged through several chapters, I actually appreciated knowing a lot of the histories and biographies.

Since this will be my 6th season in wildland firefighting, I'm a little embarrassed that it's taken me this long to become familiar with the history of fighting fire in the United States. I knew that the pulaski tool was named after the guy that made it, but I never knew just what kind of man Ed Pulaski was nor the courage and leadership he displayed as he fought wildfires in Montana.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to know more about the beginnings of wild land firefighting. The seemingly boring beginning is worth trudging through.

Know of any other fire books or outdoor/survival books you think I should read?

Fire Away!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on completing the A-Z Challenge! Just stopping by to say hello from the 2013 Post A-Z Road Trip!
    Thoughts Of Beauty In The Stillness Of Dawn...