Books

Here is a list of some of the wildland fire related books in my library.  While not complete, it’s a good start and will continue to grow.

The Big Burn by Timothy Egan

A must read for fire bums who, if you are like I was, were somewhat uninformed as to the origins and development of our land management agencies. Timothy Egan clarifies why and how the United States Forest Service started, who was instrumental in it’s infancy, and where as an agency we are headed.

Fire line: Summer Battles of the West

Fire Line is a really cool book to have around for it’s visual illustrations of wildland firefighting.  Many of the photos feel somewhat dated, giving the book a very nostalgic feel.  But it’s not just photos, it goes into detail about the different roles within firefighting and some of the challenges we face.  Informative for someone who doesn’t know too much about what we do.

This book was chosen by the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program for 2016 as the reader challenge.  Wrote a post on here about it, with some answers included to the questions posed by WFLDP.  Good book, becomes a little redundant and reaches, drawing  parallels between great jazz musicians and great leadership.

The Go Point by Michael Useem

Michael Useem does an interesting analysis of different scenarios to better understand how one prepares for decisive action, particularly under trying circumstances.  Storm King Mountain is given a large portion and is worth a read.  I think the chart where each principle is broken down, showing what tools can assist to ensure the principle is adhered to, illustrates a good example of how to extrapolate information for an event.

Smokejumper by Jason A. Ramos

I was browsing a local bookstore last winter/spring with my girlfriend, imagining running a chainsaw, burning, and other work related daydreams. This book was in the window, had just come out.  My girlfriend being understanding and thoughtful bought it for me.  Pretty cool smoke jumping tale.  I particularly enjoyed the photo section where he’s got a photograph of himself with a pack weighing in at 154.8 pounds!  What I recognized with was the adventure, the carefree spirit we seem to share.  Being somewhat biased for Murray Taylor’s book called Jumping Fire,there was this prejudgment on the book.  Either way, I finished it in one sitting because  it was presented fluidly.

Hellroaring by Peter M. Leschak

The title says it all.  There is a flyfishing author by the name of John Geirach who gives his books really great titles: Trout Bum, Dances With Trout, Death Taxes and Leaky Waders. The title reminds me of that.  Peter Leschak takes some of the wandering and rambling us fire nomads crave and strings it together for a fantastic read.  I think this is one of the more well written books by a wild land firefighter.

Leadership: The Warriors Art by Christopher Kolenda

First book I bought in an effort to develop my leadership abilities as they pertain to the job.  Can be a bit too academic sounding at times, but some good stuff in here.

Trust.ol.o.gy: The Art and Science of Leading High-Trust Teams

Another book recommended by the person in charge of the Wildland Leadership Development Program’s Reading Challenge.  Because the book deals in generalities, in order to draw out specific instances where I could apply what was in the book to running a squad or being on a crew, I forced myself to create questions based on key points raised in the book and then answered them.  It was grueling but I  think by forcing myself to do that instead of throwing it in the trash or trying to re-sell the book, I walked away with something usable.  With books like this it’s easy to finish reading and move on but the challenging part is where you find the most benefit.

The Thirtymile Fire by John N. Maclean

Another big effort from the John Maclean fire factory.  Wrote a post on the site about it.  Good Book.

Jumping Fire by Murry A. Taylor

If there is only a handful of fire books you read during your temporary stay in the wildland culture or you decide to chase a career in it, this should be one of them.

On War and Leadership by Owen Connely

Such an incredible book.  The editor selects  journal entries, letters and other sources of information from some of the worlds best military leaders ever.  There is enough given to the reader in this book for any aspiring leader to create a personalized approach towards leadership, with a multitude of directions to go.

On Fire by Thomas C. Cable

Pretty cool book. I enjoyed reading the part in the book about the Incident Management Team being deployed after 9/11 to assist with the efforts at the pentagon.

The Fire Line by Fernanda Santos

One of three books written about the Yarnell Hill tragedy involving the Granite Mountain Hotshots.  Written by a newspaper journalist, this book offers many more details than On The Burning Edge by Kyle Dickman. I’ve written a post on the website discussing some of the differences between the 3 books.  I’d assume anybody going to see the upcoming movie release will do themselves some good and the Granite Mountain Hotshots some justice if they read one, two, or three of the books, read the investigation report, etc. The movie will fuck this up, somehow, it’s inevitable.  Any planning on seeing the movie without doing some homework would be a tragedy on its own. There is an audiobook version available, and i’ve included a link to it on the audiobook page.

On The Fireline by Mathew Desmond

Mathew Desmond seeks to find, through his few years in wildland fire, how wildland firefighters view risk, and how normalizing this risk is manifested throughout our organization.  Very interesting but can be dry, overly academic, and difficult at times.

On The Burning Edge by Kyle Dickman

One of the 3 Books On the Yarnell Hill Tragedy. Again, it was hard not feeling like a sucker buying these Yarnell Books.  Three books in the same year! Just seemed like maybe people were trying to bank in on the mishap/ tragedy.

Fire On The Mountain by John N. Maclean

THE Storm King book from the Maclean fire factory.  Great Book. A few years ago I passed it around to a couple guys in the bunkhouse who were eager for some learning and was able to have some good discussions.

My Lost Brothers by Brendan McDonough

The book written from the perspective of Granite Mountains ONLY surviving crew member.  I appreciated the approach taken because rather than fault finding, Brendan went through some  turmoil he underwent, both before and after the tragedy.  This humanized him as a fellow firefighter, a person any wildland firefighter can relate to.  This book is also included in a post on this website.

Ghosts Of The Fireground by Peter M. Leschak

One of the first Wildland books I read.  I remember thinking, while lying on my bunkbed, how incredible this job is.  How fun. How perfect.  And this book elevated that feeling, substantiated it. I carried that with me from June until the layoff date, and continually strive to retain it.  Follows Leschak in and out and around his helicopter.

Fired Up! by Charles Palmer

Informative for any first or second year person looking for tips on how to be both mentally and physically fit for duty. Written by a longtime smokejumper, this book will help you prepare for the trials ahead.

Fire In The Eucalypts by Harold R. Larson

This book recounts Larson’s experience being a Canadian Wildland Firefighter in Australia during the time of Black Saturday in 2009 which killed 173 people.  I’ve written a post on this site about this book.  Fire in The Eucalypts is a very well written book.  Some of these wildland books lack the appreciable literary feeling, something forgotten, somewhere between pen meets paper meets editor.

Fire and Ashes by John N. Maclean

In the year following my first season involved with wildland fire, I spent a good amount of time daydreaming in the public library about next summer.  This was one of the books that stoked the fire.  I recently bought the book to help guide some of my studies into the Rattlesnake fire, where I made a site visit.