expert Stephen J. 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.
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.
Year of the Fires
The Story of the Great Fires of 1910
by Stephen J. Pyne